Gender, migration decision-making and social changes in Roi-et Province, Northeastern Thailand
The main objective of this study is to examine to what extent, how and why gender issues influence the process of migration decision-making and social change through the combination of household relations and gender relations. The rationale underpinning this objective was that such changes have brought about considerable adjustments to livelihood strategies when faced with some social and economic constraints. There are two main themes to be investigated in this study: (1) to examine the interrelationships between household relations, gender relations and other external socio-economic factors in the framework of the process of migration decision-making, and (2) to examine the extent to which migration reversal and re-migration have acted as household coping strategies in different ways between male and female migrants during the current economic crisis in Thailand. With respect to the first theme, household relations, gender relations, and other external factors are examined in the specific context of migration decision- making, which are hypothesised to differ between male and female migrants. The analysis will examine the factors that have a genuine influence on migration decision-making, comparing factors internal to the household and external factors. These will be explored not only in connection with contemporary migration flows but also in relation to patterns of migration across time, through the collection of information on community histories and migration histories in the study areas. The focus will be on male and female migration, out- and return-migration, and migration reversal and re-migration. The second theme aims to investigate the rural household coping strategies that have been deployed in the context of the economic crisis in the light of patterns of migration reversal and re-migration. This is done in order to examine the gender dimension in the contemporary process of migration in relation to household economic constraints and also their responsiveness in the face of rapid social and economic change. Within these overall themes, the investigation emphasises the ways in which gender issues and social change interact with the migration decisions of individuals and households within the rural communities. Two key issues, namely the influence of household relations and gender relations on migration decision-making amongst migrants and other household members, are highlighted throughout the thesis.