Implementing the 9th national economic and social development plan : a study of discourse between Thai government officials and villagers
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This study focuses on how officials and villagers communicate with regard to government policy, especially in relation to sufficiency living stated in the national development plan of Thailand, which is set as a fundamental notion encouraging villagers in rural areas to take action and participate in plans to improve their living conditions and that of their communities.This study, particularly, chooses the grassroots' participation concept of the 9th National Economic and Society Plan. That provides the framework in constructing research questions and using discourse analysis to investigate the conversational content collected from exchanges among groups of officials and villagers, as well as between them.The study finds that communication between officials and villagers seems to be fluent, even when misunderstandings arise. However, it is apparent that the barrier to effective communication between both groups is cultural.In addition, it is noted that some villagers have started to speak up in public, more so than in the past. This is significant given that villagers feel inferior due to them having less education. Also, the village headmen and Tambon Representatives have less education, especially in relation to relevant laws and administrative regulations. It is also noteworthy that the so-called educational gap of villagers and their representatives prompts some people to take advantage of this situation, and of the people involved. In turn, this causes damage for both villagers and the state.It is clear that grassroots participation is necessary in the community development process. However, officials do need to understand that the manner in which the villagers speak is very informal whereas, in contrast, the conversational style of officials is rather formal. Usually, this involves official and complicated terms that are not understood by villagers. As a consequence, effectiveness of the associated discourse is reduced.
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