Hmong Protestants and Modernity in Urban Chiang Mai

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Prasit Leepreecha
Rattana Duaidee


In the contemporary context of urbanization like Chiang Mai city, which is a center for education, governance and business, various ethnic and cultural groups have migrated in and lived side-by-side. Those include the Khon Muang or native lowland Thai Buddhists, who are dominant group, the Hmong, other highland ethnic groups with varieties of belief, and western Christians. Unequal power relations exist amidst the encounter between different ethnic and religious groups, especially between the lowland Thai Buddhists and Hmong animists. The Hmong have been perceived as primitive people who originally inhabited in mountain jungle. In such urban context, a group of Hmong has become Protestant Christians. This phenomenon has been studied by the two researchers during the past few years, by using ethnographic fieldwork method and social interpretation analysis. The main finding which is the argument of this article is that becoming Christian is a means for the Hmong Protestants to become modern or civilized, in order to improve their power relations with lowland Thai Buddhists and western Christians.

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How to Cite
Leepreecha, P., & Duaidee, R. (2020). Hmong Protestants and Modernity in Urban Chiang Mai. Journal of Anthropology, Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (JASAC), 3(2), 84–114. Retrieved from
Academic Article