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dc.contributor.advisorLee, Sung Yong
dc.contributor.advisorButcher, Charles
dc.contributor.advisorBrouneus, Karen
dc.contributor.authorPienkhuntod, Ajirapa
dc.identifier.citationPienkhuntod, A. (2017). Facilitation, Imposition, or Impairment?: The Role of Bridging Networks on Peacebuilding of Local Religious Leaders in the Deep South of Thailand (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThe peacebuilding potential of local religious leaders in conflict is well established within the peacebuilding literature. To date, most studies have focused on the impact of religious factors on the peacebuilding of religious leaders, while factors other than religion remain under-researched. The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of inter-group ties or bridging networks on the peacebuilding behaviour of local religious leaders. This represents the first attempt to examine how the varying behaviour of members of bridging networks impacts the peacebuilding behaviour of local religious leaders during conflict. In an effort to highlight the importance of non-religious mechanisms, the central research question of this thesis is: How do bridging networks affect the peacebuilding behaviour of local religious leaders in a conflict setting? This study examines a single case of the Deep South of Thailand (the southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, and some parts of Songkhla). Based on thirty-one in-depth interviews conducted in the southernmost provinces of Thailand, I investigate the impact of three ‘types’ of bridging networks, those with civil society, governmental, and military actors. I trace a causal chain between the behaviours of members of theses bridging networks and the peacebuilding practices of local Islamic and Buddhist leaders in the context of the Southern Thailand conflict. Some local religious leaders engaged in socio-economic development, e.g. drug rehabilitation for youth and the development of the Islamic-integrated curriculum; community justice, e.g. legal training for Islamic leaders and torture prevention; religious dialogues, e.g. inter-religious camps for students; and community mediation between Buddhist-Muslim communities. I find that local religious leaders were pragmatic and likely to engage in a peacebuilding collaboration with other actors only when other actors facilitated the development of their approaches and initiatives to match local needs, or in other words, supporting the bottom-up peacebuilding. In this case, civil society actors could to an extent play a facilitative role by increasing local religious leaders’ socialisation with other like-minded actors and/or peacebuilders, and promote the peacebuilding behaviour of local religious leaders. In contrast, civilian governmental and military actors could do so only in a limited fashion as they used top-down and security approaches respectively, which limit and impair the development of the peacebuilding role of local religious leaders. A safe operational space was also identified as an essential non-material resource enabling engagement in peacebuilding in the ongoing conflict environment. Local religious leaders were unlikely to access financial and/or material resources for peacebuilding available in a bridging network if doing so could generate the risk of being harmed. In this case, the risk was determined by the perceived neutrality or bias of local religious leaders’ contacts who provided resources for peacebuilding. Interestingly, the perceived neutrality or bias of these actors was influenced by their distance to the fighting. I have found that civil society actors were, to some extent, able to provide safe spaces for local religious leaders. Civil society actors were perceived to be more neutral than civilian governmental and military actors, who were associated with the Thai state, the conflict party to the Malay insurgents. As a result, the behaviours of civil society, civilian governmental and military actors (facilitation via socialisation/top-down approach/impairment due to security concerns) created different immediate outcomes (a sense of safety/limited space for participation/fear), which affected varying degrees of access (access, restricted, and no access) to peacebuilding resources in civil society, civilian government and military networks, and consequently resulted in promoting, restricting, or hindering the engagement of local religious leaders in peacebuilding, respectively. I therefore argue that local religious leaders’ contribution to peacebuilding during conflict was significantly influenced by the behaviour of their contacts. In a conflict environment such as the Deep South of Thailand, the more a bridging network facilitated the development of bottom-up peacebuilding approaches and created a safe operational space, the more local religious leaders engaged in peacebuilding. By identifying this enabling condition for peacebuilding, this thesis deepens our understanding of the drivers of local peacebuilding and sheds light on how to improve the peacebuilding role of local religious leaders through bridging networks in a time of conflict.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.subjectlocal religious leader
dc.subjectSouthern Thailand Conflict
dc.subjectbridging network
dc.titleFacilitation, Imposition, or Impairment?: The Role of Bridging Networks on Peacebuilding of Local Religious Leaders in the Deep South of Thailand
dc.language.rfc3066en Centre for peace and conflict studies of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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