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Communication and the Construction of Local Knowledge in Thai Rice Farming Villages

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
R. Genilo, Jude William (main author)
Online journal article
Publication Date:
Bangladesh: SAGE Journals
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
communication, communication analysis, communication channels, communication methods, communication process, communication systems, farming, information dissemination, literacy, non-governmental organizations, opinion leaders, rice, rural development, training, villages, information technologies, rural community, community, local knowledge, agricultural communication, Thailand (South-Eastern Asia), agricultural information, communication media
18 pages., Via online journal., The study asserts that rural villages which have developed relatively complex communication systems have extensive local knowledge and practice systems. Using the knowledge and community-based perspective, the study departs from past works of development communication scholars, who have focused their attention mainly on the transfer of information. The study is concerned with how meaning is created and shared in rural communities through the use of communication. It looks at how small homogenous farming communities in Thailand – world’s number one rice exporter – utilize communication to improve rice crop production. It asks: what roles does communication play in the formation of collective definitions (perspectives) and the construction/management of local knowledge and practices on rice farming? To explore the plausibility of this paper’s assertion, ethnographies of two rice farming villages were conducted – Baan Sap Som Boon (irrigated) in Chainat province (Central Region) and Baan Hua Hae (rainfed) in Ubon Ratchathani province (Northeast Region). Data generation period was from October 2004 to July 2005. Research results indicate that Baan Sap Som Boon has both an extensive knowledge of rice farming methods and procedures and an elaborate community-based communication system. Baan Hua Hae, on the other hand, practices more traditional means of rice production and divides time with other livelihood activities. In both villages, communication plays a central role in improving crop production via facilitating the formation of collective definitions on rice farming, labor, economics and agriculture-related institutions.