Abstract: This research identifies the dynamics and adaptability of the hand-woven Mud Mee silk business in Thailand. Specifically, the research explores the Mud Mee silk business as operated by the Thai Puan, a Thai-Lao ethnic group that descended from the Puan people. The Thai Puan live in Lopburi province in the central part of Thailand where the research, using qualitative research methods, was conducted from January to July 2007. The first Thai Puan settlers originally came from Puan City in the sub-district of Xieng Khouang in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and migrated to Thailand more than two hundred years ago. Since then, they have evolved with contemporary Thai society and have developed their own identity, traditions and culture. Their distinctive hand-woven Mud Mee silk is a symbol that represents their unique identity and traditional production skills. These skills were handed down through generations and produced a livelihood for their communities long before the introduction of modern capitalism. Today, their production techniques have advanced. They use their knowledge of traditional weaving techniques to be more flexible allowing them to adapt their weaving style to accommodate contemporary society’s demands. The process has been one of continuous learning and adapting. It is also a process that enhances their product and improves trade, which helps subsidize the community’s livelihood. Over the years, as trade among communities increased, a sub-district-level business system emerged along with women weavers’ guilds. There were also alterations made for surviving capitalism. Weaving networks for both production and marketing were established. Moreover, there was an adaptation to mainstream development both in recognition agreement and in selecting new products for appropriate integration into society. Importantly, the community’s continual learning process makes growing career and business opportunities possible. Finally, this study shows that these factors create the potential for a stronger community economy by introducing cooperation between members of groups that have been formed to decrease the risks of market price and market problems. The study also demonstrates the importance of having a leader who is empowered and devoted and members who are willing to work together for the benefit of the group and community.
Pranorm Kiantong , Watee Kongbuntad and Worapol Aengwanich , 2008. The Dynamics and Adaptation of Hand-Woven Mud Mee Silk Businesses in the Thai Puan Community, Lopburi Province, Central Part of Thailand. The Social Sciences, 3: 211-215.