Analysis Of Ara Wilson's The Intimate Economies Of Bangkok

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Register to read the introduction… Perhaps due in large part to her gender (which made it more socially acceptable for her to have continued conversations with women without any significant reputational backlash for her female informants) combined with her American-ness ( which places her outside of the limitations imposed by typical gender-dictated rules regarding deportment and behavior in Thai/Sino-Thai culture) , Wilson is able to circumnavigate the gender stratified Thai society and gain information regarding the perspectives of both males and females who are navigating through modern-day Thailand. Most of the individuals who Wilson interviews are toeing the newly developed line between traditional and “modern” modes of behavior (whether these modes are referring to romantic relationships, dealings with familial obligations, navigating through the job market). One of the many examples of such navigation around or through norms in Thai culture would be the story of Sila, a Thai tom woman who was an Avon lady. As Wilson discovered while gathering information for her ethnography:
Within many Sino-Thai and Thai families, earning income and fulfilling family duties can overrule the costs of inappropriate gender or sexual behaviors…what most determined status in Sila’s household was fiscal, rather than normative gender,
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Wilson postulates:
Capitalist markets interact with other economies—with folk, kin, and moral economies. These alternate economies are not timeless but have transformed alongside and informed modernization in Thailand. They provide a symbolic and practical counterpoint to capitalist exchange.
In this respect, I am inclined to agree with the presentation of her argument. In the final chapter of her ethnography which was entitled, “The Avon Lady, the Amway Plan, and the Making of Thai Entrepreneurs,” I was able to directly view how American corporations marketed themselves to the Thai entrepreneur. I was also able to view how, in turn, the Thai entrepreneur marketed and sold these Western commodities to their friends and family within the scope of the traditional Thai kinship-based economy. Wilson’s presentation of the market structure in Thailand during the time following the initial introduction of capitalism has led me to conclude that globalization as it is presented in Thailand has not led to cultural homogenization (which typically dictates that one culture completely yield to another and abdicate the traditional ideals). Instead globalization has produced a hegemonic notion of Western products being more valuable and

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