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Trust building through army development initiatives in conflict situation : the case of Yalannanbaru in Southern border provinces of Thailand

Chulalongkorn University
Publication Date
  • Trust
  • Military Policy -- Thailand
  • Yalannanbaru Project
  • Conflict (Psychology)
  • Political Conflict
  • Education


This study focuses on the Yalannanbaru program run by the Thai army in the southern border provinces of Thailand in order to examine whether the project contributes to obtain trust from the local people. In so doing, this thesis introduces theories on trust and distrust to the conflict situation and development initiatives run by the Thai army. The study utilizes an in-depth single-case study on the Yalannanbaru program; a drugs re-education camp for youth in the southern border provinces. In the course of analysis, the notion of separate dimensions of trust and distrust is applied, acknowledging the multifaceted character of many relations and the possible coexistence of trust and distrust in a relationship. In addition, the theory of calibration of trust and distrust is introduced in order to examine how the discrepancy between expectations and outcomes of army development initiatives can influence participants’ attitudes. The study revealed that through various processes, the program has been able to change levels of interpersonal trust and distrust between the participating youth and the army officers directly involved. However, the potential to address intergroup trust and distrust through the program is currently very limited; the existing distrust in society is a strong restraint on any trust building process. From the study, the thesis concludes that trust building through development initiatives by the Thai army like Yalannanbaru requires more careful analysis on relation and trust building with thorough understanding of wider conflict dynamics. Without focusing on resolution by tackling the root causes of the conflict, army development programs have little potential to contribute to improving the situation in the southern border provinces

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