Meloney C. Lindberg
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Conflict Management and Resolution in Asia: The Role of Civil Societies in Thailand's Deep South
Occasional Paper No. 18, October 2012
Thailand's southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and the four Malay-speaking districts in Songkhla province have a combined population of about 2 million people, of whom more than 1.5 million are Malay Muslims. This distinctive ethnic-religious group has a history and identity that predates the imposition of centralized rule of the Thais in the early 20th century and was once part of the independent Sultanate of Patani. Thailand's nation-state constructs, along with its historical narrative and the centralized structure of the Thai state agencies, have at various times been both unable and unwilling to accommodate their unique Malay identity and historical narrative. Adding to their sense of alienation is the fact that the restive region, commonly referred to as the Deep South, is one of the most neglected regions in the country. This paper investigates the role of civil societies in Thailand's Deep South.