Agrarian Transformation in Thailand, and Rural-Urban Interactions

One of the great joys of my work is making videos of conversations with scholars who research about Southeast Asia.

It was my great pleasure and honor to recently make this video of a conversation between Professors Jonathan Rigg and Phan Le Ha.

Dr. Jonathan Rigg, Professor and Chair in Human Geography at the University of Bristol, has been researching and writing about rural transformation in Thailand, and Southeast Asia more generally, for decades. On the occasion of the publication of his most recent book, More than Rural: The Textures of Thailand’s Agrarian Transformation, he sat down for this fascinating discussion.


These are some of the issues covered in this fascinating conversation:

02:36 – Jonathan’s intellectual journal from “More than the Soil” (Routledge, 2001) to “More than the Rural” (Hawaii, 2019);

06:40 – The materiality of the urban vs. the values and practices associated with the urban;

10:12 – Moving beyond rural/urban and agrarian/non-agrarian binaries;

12:03 – Urbanization in Asian contexts;

15:52 – The concepts of peri-urban and desakota;

18:58 – The (contested/changing) link between poverty and land;

22:20 – A key point in “More than Rural”;

25:22 – Understanding rural “problems” as strategies.

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