Macquarie University
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Why do they call me Khiya?: gender and identity construction amongst people injecting drugs in Thailand

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posted on 2022-03-28, 20:40 authored by Niphattra Haritavorn
Injecting drug users worldwide are often ensnared in a web of problems arising largely from what is commonly termed 'structural violence', a phenomenon that causes suffering and renders injecting drug users vulnerable to a range of social dilemmas and health threats. Political and social forces, which range from oppressive drug control policies to widespread stigma to discrimination, combine to marginalise injecting drug users and contribute to the sense of alienation that isolates users from non-users. These distancing processes become a potent barrier that excludes many users from pursuing conventional social lives and activities within mainstream society. -- Understanding widespread injecting drug use and abuse in Thailand requires exploration of its linkage with all levels of society. The thesis examines how political-economy forces at the macro level have shaped the meaning of drug use and drug epidemics; as well, it explores the pressures that drug users are subjected to at the micro level within family and other interpersonal relations. Particular emphasis is upon HIV infection, its spread, and how Thailand's drug users have invented a range of tactics that aim to lessen the impact of social rejection associated with disease and allow them to maintain their drug use behaviour. Women injecting drug users in particular, are caught in a difficult tension between the demands of being a Thai woman seeking to exist in a masculinised world of drug users and meeting Thai society's expectations of womanhood. Harm reduction programs may prove the means of facilitating drug users' increased public profile. This thesis also explores how new social movements allow drug users to engage in a habitable social space and fashion new forms of subjective identity.


Alternative Title

Gender and identity construction amongst people injecting drugs in Thailand

Table of Contents

Introduction: Approaching the meanings of drugs -- Political economy of illicit drugs in Thailand -- Violence and suffering: the everyday lives of Thai drug users -- Management of sleves: survival tactics -- Gender drug use -- Harm reduction, social movement, and space -- Conclusion.


September 2011 Bibliography: p. [203]-229

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Dept. of Anthropology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Anthropology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Chris Lyttleton


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Niphattra Haritavorn 2012.




1 online resource (xiv, 231 p.) col. ill

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