DEVELOPMENT School of Political and Social Science : University of Phayao

Social Contexts towards the Strength of Maeka Sub-District, Muang District, Phayao Province

This research aimed at 1) investigating the social contexts and analyzing human capital affecting the strength of Maeka Sub-District, Muang District, Phayao Province, and 2) proposing a notable guideline leading to the strength of Maeka Sub-District. It employed a qualitative research methodology by means of non-formal interviews as well as participant observations. The key informants were 180 persons, 10 of whom were chosen from each of 18 villages, in Maeka Sub-District, Muang, Phayao. The study revealed that the social contexts in Maeka Sub-District mainly refer to therein social capitals of shared natural resources, people, traditions, indigenous knowledge, groups and institutions. Despite of richness in natural resources, Maeka needs adequate policy and planning for the environmental sustainability. For the people, there are villagers and immigrants living in different ways due to the various backgrounds and purposes. The former live a traditional life clinging to their traditions and norms, whereas the latter live a more energizing life due to their purposes, such as education and business. The local knowledge and skills such as agriculture, food, rituals, language and performing arts traditionally prevail, but they need a contemporarily trained and developed. The gatherings of villagers show a strong relationships, sense of belonging, trust, and kinship among them that need more considerable expertise networks. For the institutions, fourteen temples and two universities can empower the people in the spiritual aspect as well as academic aspect. Furthermore, the two universities: University of Phayao and Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, may mark Maeka as the ‘University Town’.