Dreams of Prosperity

Silvia Vignato (ed.), Dreams of Prosperity: Inequality and Integration in Southeast Asia, EFEO, Silkworm Books, 2017

Dreams of Prosperity offers a critical composite reflection on Southeast Asia as a progressively integrated and globalized space of production, exchange, and circulation within and beyond national boundaries. Through a broad array of contexts united by the theme of integration, the essays describe the successful or unsuccessful entry of specific individuals or groups into wider markets and networks in their quest for prosperity—in Thailand, by Lua peasant farmers, slum families, the last century’s teak laborers, and ethnic tour hosts; in Indonesia, by the urban poor and communities resisting environmental destruction; and in Vietnam, by human trafficking returnees. The authors examine how these groups are socially and symbolically defined and redefined in the process of integration, and consider the imaginaries of future that enable both active participation and unmitigated manipulation. Two key topics are the cognitive struggle that peasants and laborers face with their material environment and the process of sense-making that characterizes many destitute people in urban contexts.

Contributors are Matteo Carlo Alcano, Amnuayvit Thitibordin, Monika Arnez, Giuseppe Bolotta, Olivier Evrard, Karnrawee Sratongno, Runa Lazzarino, Manoj Potapohn, Amalia Rossi, Sakkarin Na Nan, and Silvia Vignato.

Contents 

  1. Green Aspirations and the Dynamics of Integration in Two East Kalimantan Cities— Monika Arnez 
  2. Neoliberalism and the Integration of Labor and Natural Resources: Contract Farming and Biodiversity Conservation in Northern Thailand—Amalia Rossi and Sakkarin Na Nan 
  3. Integration and Marginality in the Tourist Economy: The Geopolitics of Trekking in Chiang Mai Province—Olivier Evrard, Manoj Potapohn, and Karnrawee Stratongno 
  4. Migration and the Ethnic Division of Labor in Siam’s Teak Business, 1880s–1910s— Amnuayvit Thitibordin 
  5. After the Shelter: The Nuances of Reintegrating Human Trafficking Returnees in Northern Vietnam—Runa Lazzarino 
  6. Playing the NGO System: How Mothers and Children Design Political Change in the Slums of Bangkok—Giuseppe Bolotta 
  7. Making Sense of Poverty in Aceh and Surabaya—Silvia Vignato and Matteo Carlo Alcano