The Cultural Identity of Mien Ethnic Group in a Digital Era
Keywords:Hill Tribe, Cultural Identity, Mien Ethnicity, Digital Media
Purpose: The study aimed to identify the cultural identity of the Mien ethnic group and their adaptation to dominant society.
Theoretical Framework: The study was conducted physically at Mae Yao District of Chiang Rai Province, located in the northern part of Thailand.
Methodology: The qualitative study employed Esser model of social integration. Primary data was collected from focus groups, in-depth interviews, on-site observations, and secondary data from related documents and research work.
Findings: As part of Thailand's rural population, hill tribes were considered as vulnerable group of society, who mainly depends on slash and burn subsistence farming lifestyle with low-income employment, socially distanced, low education, and poverty. Through the Royal Project of King Rama IX initiatives, issues concerning hill tribe livelihood, including quality of life and cultural preservation have been addressed.
Research, Practical & Social Implications: Socio-economic status and socio-cultural mingling in dominant society for their livelihood are the most significant factors that consequently impact upon their thinking patterns of the individuals and community. Although technology such as mobile phones and the Internet has played an explicit role in the community today, preserving the traditional way of life without oblivion still exists. Digital culture therefore becomes an essential aspect of the community's way of life with the influence of digital media.
Originality: This study provides important impacts to a better identification of the Mien ethnic group cultural and their adaptation to dominant society.
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