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Published in February, 2012.
This study examines the role of Buddhist monks as development agents in rural Thailand. Through 20 years of field studies, and with a focus on Northeast Thailand (which is known as Isan and long classified as the poorest region of Thailand), author Pinit Lapthananon investigates development in contemporary Thailand. Although development monks form a small percentage of the monks in Isan, or in Thailand as a whole, their actions have been highly visible in Thai society for more than five decades, and they have helped to maintain a balance between modernization and traditional culture. The book examines the role of Buddhism, investigates religious and socioeconomic activities, and probes the changing approach to development – with an emphasis on economic growth to support both social and human development, self-sufficiency, community participation and empowerment, and the revitalization of traditional knowledge and folk wisdom. The Role of Development Monks in Northeast Thailand will help in understanding the process of development and social change in Isan society.