- 東南アジア研究 (ISSN:05638682)
- vol.53, no.2, pp.189-216, 2016
This paper examines the relation between the organizational structure of Yiguan Dao (I-Kuan Tao) in Thailand and its members' network. This study aims at reconsidering the focus on Chinese identity of Chinese religious groups in Thailand and the supposition of “individualization” of religious practices in Thailand. Most studies on Chinese religion in Southeast Asia are concerned with Chinese communities or ethnicity but overlook the context of the host societies. However, Yiguan Dao in Thailand, with its many non-Chinese members, challenges this supposition. With economic development and social change in Thailand, people move from the countryside to urban cities and even abroad. In the context of traditional communities with high mobility, the much-divided organizational structure of Yiguan Dao offers members an opportunity to find a toehold when moving around. People who migrate for higher education, work, or overseas labor find an anchor in the trans-regional network of Yiguan Dao. This transregional network also supports people in the margins or excluded from their own communities. I argue that this challenges the supposition of “individualization” of the Thai religion.