skip to contents.

Publicness and Taken-for-granted Knowledge: A Case Study of Communal Land Formation in Rural Thailand

Discussion Papers


by SHIGETOMI Shinichi
June 2007


The lack of public-mindedness can cause problems in the social order of people’s daily lives, such as the tragedy of the commons and the problem of free riders. Some scholars such as Habermas assert that communicative rationality is the solution, expecting that individuals will communicate with each other to reach a consensus without being bounded by aspects of social background. Other scholars advocate the revitalization of traditional community culture. These arguments, however, are not based on reality. By using the case of communal land formation in rural Thailand, the author shows that collective action is neither a revival of tradition nor a result of communication free from social constraints. Rather, cooperation emerges because the people rationally respond to their present needs and have built, through daily social interactions, taken-for-granted knowledge about how they should behave for cooperation.

Keywords: local organization, rural development, Thailand, public sphere, community forest, communal land
JEL classification: O18, Q15, Q23, Z13

PDF pdf (199KB)

Please note that discussion papers are works in various stages of progress and most have not been edited and proofread and may contain errors of fact or judgment. Revised versions of these papers may subsequently appear in more formal publication series. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s). The IDE does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included and accepts no responsibility for any consequences arising from its use.