Participatory Action Research for the Conservation of Sustainable Karen Culture: a Case Study of the Karen Ethnic Group in Ratchaburi Province
Revised 29/05/2020 Jiraporn Kanchanasuphan1 Wannawee boonkoum2
Accepted 01/06/2020 Kanit Kheovichai3
The purposes of this research were to 1) study the cultures and changes of the Karen community in Ratchaburi province, and 2) create the activities to promote the cultural conservation of Karen at Banca District, Ratchaburi province. The instruments for this qualitative research included an in-depth interview and focus group discussion. The collected data were analyzed by content analysis. The research findings revealed that the cultures of Karen in Ratchaburi province were categorized into four types: 1) cultural heritage: archaeological sites, antiques, and natural resources and environment, 2) cultural identity: clothing and language, 3) wisdom and technology: housing, traditional customs, local food, original herbal treatments, musical and amusement arts, handicrafts, and livelihood, and 4) human rights and democratic regime. Moreover, the study showed that the Karen ethnic group changed their cultures, which affected the way of life of people in the community in 8 aspects as follows: 1) clothing, 2) housing, 3) livelihood, 4) language, 5) food, 6) tradition and ritual, 7) treatment, and 8) the Karen music. For the Karen cultural conservation project in Ratchaburi province, the project consisted of 5 activities: 1) creating the Karen music guide book, 2) creating the Karen herbal guide book, 3) creating the Karen language book, 4) building the Karen cultural learning center in Ratchaburi province, and 5) inheriting ‘Kinkhaoho’ tradition. The success factors of the Karen cultural conservation activities consisted of 1) good leaders, 2) the strengths of community members, 3) support from government and private sectors, 4) the community’s significant cultural capital, and 5) consciousness of the Karen ethic.
Keywords: participatory action research, conservation of Karen culture, Karen ethnic group
1Graduate student (Doctor of Philosophy), Development Studies Program, Silpakorn University
2Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, Silpakorn University
3Professor, Faculty of Education, Silpakorn University