Defining Akhazang: Buddhist, Christian and Traditionalist Akha in a Highland Village in Northern Thailand
. 2013.
 
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This thesis presents the results of an ethnographic study of a multi-religious Akha community in northern Thailand.  This study explores 1) the ongoing efforts of a Neo-Traditionalist group of villagers to modify and continue carrying Aqkaqzanr as an integral part of their identity, 2) the importance or lack thereof of Aqkaqzanr for villagers carrying different religious belief systems, and 3) the different kinds of social problems that have developed within the village as a result of rising rates of religious conversion to Christianity and Buddhism.

The material is drawn form my experiences living in the upland Akha village of Arbawr in North Thailand. I first visited Arbawr village in mid-2010. I subsequently returned to the village to conduct more extensive fieldwork between October 2011 and January 2012.  The study used the two primary research methods of ethnographic fieldwork and archival research. Before carrying out village-based fieldwork I conducted archival and library research in order to better understand the historical context of traditional Akha cultural practices as well as more recent conversions to other traditions. Second, I employed several qualitative research methods while conducting fieldwork (interviews, participant observation).

 

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