Thailand as a Plural Society: Ethnic Interaction in a Buddhist Kingdom

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Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies


In a recent comprehensive analysis of social structure in both mainland and insular Southeast Asia, D. E. Brown attempts to classify Southeast Asian societies based upon a typology developed by M. G. Smith et al (1976). As Brown indicates, this typology was originally developed in reference to Southeast Asian data by colonial officials. First, Boeke applied the concept of the "dual economy11 to the Dutch East Indian economy. He viewed Dutch East Indian society as divided into two sectors. One sector, the Dutch trading sector, was engaged within the wider world economy; whereas the second sector, the traditional village economy or "native" sector, was isolated. Though Boeke focused on economic divisions, it was obvious that he was referring to both economic and societal factors.

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