The Mak Pasar: Engaging with the Difficulty of Reality in a Recurring Conflict-ridden Thailand’s Far South

in Public Anthropologist
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Pictures of women eking out a living at open-air markets in conflict zones are often used worldwide to elicit sympathy and outrage. Their chilies, synecdoche here for the commodities they sell at the open-air markets, constitutes another stereotypical image of these women living on the margins of the economy. However, what remains missing in most analyses is the focus on the lives and livelihoods of these women who bear the hardships of maintaining family life in precarious circumstances. This article focuses on the effects of the latest insurgency in Thailand’s far south on a group of women food vendors (mak pasar) as they engage with the difficulty of reality. It also touches on their cynical subjectivities towards how the government has been handling the conflict and their ambivalence towards the insurgency.

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