Occupying Bangkok-Mobile Vendors and Democratic Attitudes
Rubin, Joseph Mark
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis analyzes the status, activity, and relations of mobile vendors in the abstract and reproduced spaces of Bangkok. The flotation of people from Northeast Thailand is located within Bangkok and the process of the development of modern Thai political economy, a process that has been heavily influenced by neo-liberalism. In the capitalist city mobile vendors and others who do not part take in the formal economy are marginalized socially, economically, and spatially leaving a conceptual void in terms of their political identity. Drawing from Purcell's ideas concerning radical democracy and the urban environment that is its' natural site of emergence, I explain the political agency of this particular group. The paper offers two arguments, first, that the abstract and physical borderlines that mark vendors off from the formal economy and its conceived city are spaces where vendors, in seeking to meet their own needs, become a nascent line of democratic action. And second, mobile vendors' role in creating Bangkok as an urban habitat emphasizing the use value of the city informalizes and delegitimizes the Bangkok Municipal Authority in its goal to prioritize the exchange valued city. In their occupation of the city vendors exhibit, and inspire democratic attitudes in their patrons through the relationships that take place in the contested, diverse, and dense Bangkok environment.