Accepted paper:

Locating the local: untangling ownership over security sector processes of peace-building: the case of Southern Thailand


Paul Chambers (Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs, Chiang Mai University)
Napisa Waitoolkiat (Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines Thailand's Malay-Muslim southern insurgency. It focuses upon different levels of perception, needs and objectives in resolving security issues in the conflict by using anthropological research. As such, it particularly scrutinizes how local southern actors have attempted to obtain "ownership" of peace-building.

Paper long abstract:

Thailand's seemingly interminable southern insurgency has simmered on for well over a century. In 2004, that revolt suddenly intensified and the state used force in an attempt to quell it. Such a policy reflected an age-old notion that "Bangkok knows best"—repressive resolution from the national level. Yet the inability of traditional counterinsurgency strategies to halt the rebellion has given rise to efforts toward a more inclusive form of peace-building—with local input. However, the interface between the national and local level in its political, social, religious and ethnic forms has not been easy. Amidst differing perceptions, needs, objectives, and capabilities from all stakeholders involved in the conflict—including even alternative local groups, there remains little consensus of what constitutes justice and peace in the region. In this light, notions of political legitimacy in the Malay-Muslim South remain contested. Using anthropological research, this paper examines these dilemmas, exploring the challenges of contested ownership over security sector processes of peace-building in far southern Thailand. It also seeks to conceptualize potential security sector strategies which might be amenable to all parties. Additional co-author: Dr Srisombop Jitpiromsri, Prince of Songkhla University, Pattani, Thailand

panel SE18
The meaning(s) of local ownership in and for sustainable peace-building