John C. Quicker
Thailand has been appropriately referred to as the Land of Smiles, but it could as aptly be called the Land of Contrasts. Among the manifesdy gende people of this developing nation lie apparent contradictions between their peaceful social selves and certain aspects of their personal lives. Much evidence suggests the existence of high levels of domestic strife in a number of Thai households.
Any analysis of a developing nation such as Thailand must contend with the fact that developing societies have had less time than industrial societies to address various social issues, a situation often complicated by the rapidity of development. Therefore it should not be surprising to find issues like domestic violence in a developing society more exaggerated, less clear, and less attended to than in an advanced industrial one. Dr. Lamar Robert has indicated that even the Thai language does not contain “a single word or common phrase for domestic violence” (personal communication, June 28, 1999). Without conceptualization of a problem, study or remedy is greatly compromised. Domestic violence, wherever it is found, cannot be excused; but to understand it one must also understand the sociohistorical context in which it is found.
Developing countries often follow patterns that have established precedent in developed nations. For example, Western Europeans previously practiced a current practice in Thailand, the brokering of children by poor peasants, in the early stages of their development (Whitehead & Lab, 1990,