|New Research Project of CHRSD on Culture and Rights|
CHRSD professor and current MA students develop the research project on Cultural Rights for Urban Minorities: How Cultural Rights Emerge.
This project examines the issues around the emergence of cultural rights and the protection of cultural practices for urban minorities in Bangkok. The determinationof urban minorities is often more problematic than rural minorities because the established criteria, such as attachment to the land and participation in cultural economies and work, is not possible for an urban minority. How an urban minority gains recognition, protection and rights from the State and other authorities usually depends on a vague set of a criteria: how long (or how many generations) the minority has been in the city; the legitimacy of the culture - is this a genuine minority or merely a group of nationals?; and the size of the minority. These questions, among many others, are important to determine how a minority culture can get rights, and also the reasons that some minorities may not get cultural rights.
The project will investigate these issues by examining a range of cultures to determine what characteristics are used to determine their cultural rights status by the State and other authorities. The cross section will range from well established and officially recognized minority cultures to very new and unrecognized cultural minorities. The cross section will enable a clearer account of why some cultures gain protection, what aspects of cultures are protected, and what unprotected cultures need in order to gain protection. The project will do three case studies: Bangkok Sikh communities, Mon migrant worker communities, and West African Communities.
In determining protection, the study will examine how international standards of cultural rights are reflected in National and Municipal activities. Further, these legal and policy based standards will be contextualized within both the communities view of their protection needs, and the wider societies view of cultural minorities.
The project is supported by the Cultural and Rights Project of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Center (SAC). This project will be result in the publication of a bilingual volume of articles complete with policy recommendations on the topic of "Culture and Rights in Thailand." A total of 8 sub-projects will be selected to offer a braod range of case studies on these compelling issues. Starting with a workshop in June 2010, researchers will be given the opportunity to discuss their project proposals with fellow researchers as well as with a Project Advisory Board composed of experts from the field, with site research to commence in September. Learn more at http://www2.sac.or.th/databases/crt/