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TS4 Webinar | Language Choice as a Political Tool
Join Dr Thanachate Wisaijorn (Ubon Ratchathani University) as he shares personal insights from the field into the powerful role of language and how language choice impacts interpersonal relationships.

This presentation discusses a methodological problem that Dr Thanachate Wisaijorn encountered in an ethnographic fieldwork in Ubon Ratchathani. Bordering Champassak in Lao PDR, Ubon Ratchathani receives a number of undocumented labourers from southern Laos annually. Dr Wisaijorn interviewed many as part of her research. When the undocumented labourers were from northern Lao provinces, such as Vientiane and Luang Prabang, the dialect he used with them became really important. Dr Wisaijorn found that using the Vientiane dialect with them greatly hindered trust; using the northern dialect led them to suspect that he was someone sent by the Lao government to detect illegal migrants. His assumption that adopting the informants’ language would build rapport with them backfired. This seemingly minor issue of language choice overlooked by some is thus very crucial in the research process as informants too interpret information about the researchers themselves.

9 March, 23:00 PT
10 March, 8:00 CET / 14:00 ICT / 18:00 AET

About the TS4 Series:
Sponsored by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC), the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) and the New York Southeast Asia Network (NYSEAN), this virtual seminar series brings together social science experts from across the globe to discuss pressing issues facing Thailand. In addition to providing in-depth scholarly analysis of social issues in Thailand, this series will foster new opportunities for networking between those working in Thailand and around the world.

Please note that by registering for this event, you will automatically be subscribed to the SSEAC mailing list. Should you have any questions or wish to discuss accessibility requirements, please feel free to email: sseac@sydney.edu.au.

Mar 10, 2022 02:00 PM in Bangkok

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Thanachate Wisaijorn
Dr @Ubon Ratchathani University
Thanachate Wisaijorn is a lecturer in International Relations at the Faculty of Political Science, Ubon Ratchathani University. He completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English at Chulalongkorn University in 2005. In 2010, he received a Master of Arts (International Relations) from the Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University and in 2012 another Master of Arts (Translation) from the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University. In 2014, he completed his third Master of Arts by research (International Relations) from Durham University. He received a Doctor of Philosophy in Geography and International Relations from Loughborough University in 2018. In the same year, he was granted the award of highly commended in Academic Excellence (Humanities and Social Science) by Anglo-Thai Society in London. In 2021, his PhD thesis titled 'Riverine Border Practices: People’s Everyday Lives on the Thai-Lao Mekong border' will be published by Palgrave Macmillan.