Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

1 - Rohingya Networks in Thailand: Negotiation of Representation through Social media

Saturday, July 7
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Chinar, First Floor

In recent years, Rohingya arrivals in Thailand have drawn tremendous public attention.  While media and academia have been the main sources in representing Rohingya image to the international community, Rohingya themselves are also trying to present their own image through their networks. As there are many waves of Rohingya migration into Thailand, therefore Rohingya in Thailand are very diverse in terms of social and economic status. Established Rohingya who have been living in Thailand with Thai citizenship and Rohingya that arrived recently as refugees have been creating their own networks. With several networks for different purposes such as trade, religion or humanitarian aid, these networks always overlap with one another. In the midst of scattered and overwhelming information, the Rohingya issue has become a controversy serving religious or political ideals. This paper tries to configure the Rohingya network which is active in several fields including Muslim organizations, INGOs, faith-based humanitarian organizations and social media. This study employs multi-cited ethnography approach to investigate how these networks represent the Rohingya and also emphasizes on the debatable issues from the Rohingya’s perspective to negotiate with social phenomena during the latest Rohingya migration in 2017. Applying actor-network theory, the paper shows the work process of the Rohingya network using technology and religious beliefs to engage in their own issues with Muslim and non-Muslim actors. The findings show that the Rohingya aim to present new image by engaging in networks to create representation  countering reputation of being ‘terrorists’ which is invented by the Burmese government and the mainstream media.

Kunnawut Boonreak

Chiang Mai University, Thailand

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1 - Rohingya Networks in Thailand: Negotiation of Representation through Social media



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