Buadaeng, Kwanchewan
Chiang Mai University (CMU)
Individual Project :

The research of Kwanchewan Buadeng explores the present situation of the three religious movements carried out by the Karen peoples who live at Thai-Burma borderland. These are the Khuba, the Talaku and the Laekae movements. The three movements have deviated themselves from main stream religious teaching and organizations but created their own millenarian ideology and ascetic forms of practices. They also claim to represent the ‘real’ Karen identity. However, the movements’ communities have been deterritorialized by state’s development projects and the chronic secessionist war in the borderland. The research aims to study strategies used by the three religious movements in order to persist in the changing world. In particular, the research studies networking as important means to connect movements’ members who reside in different places and to gain support from non-members. Comparison between the three movements on their modernizing strategies is also attempted. Qualitative research methods are used --- interview of the key persons, and participant observation of movements’ activities.  The study area covers Li District of Lamphun Province, Mae Sot, Mae Ramad, Tha Song Yang and Umphang District, of Tak Province in Thailand and the Karen state of Burma. Besides, networks with members and non-members of the movements outside the study areas. 

Karen religious movements in the borderlands