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Searching for a Better Life: Growing Up in the Slums of Bangkok

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Searching for a Better Life

Growing Up in the Slums of Bangkok

Sorcha Mahony

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206 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-858-8 25% OFF! $140.00/£100.00 $105.00/£75.00 Hb Published (May 2018)

ISBN  978-1-78920-535-0 25% OFF! $29.95/£21.00 $22.46/£15.75 Pb Not Yet Published (October 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78533-859-5 eBook

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“…an engaging but highly readable ethnography of youth in Thailand’s capital… As searching for a better life is currently a dominant concept on the global level, this book is a welcome contribution to scholarly and public debates on inequality and struggles for change.” • Public Anthropologist

“The quality of the writing is superb and it reads like a novel in places… it is highly engaging and will appeal enormously to students.” • Heather Montgomery, The Open University

“I found this an interesting and enjoyable read. The author writes extremely well, her subject is engaging and the argument she makes important. The young people come vividly to life in a way that is quite rare, even in very good ethnography, and we get a real sense of at least some key aspects of their lives.” • Sarah C. White, University of Bath


Life in Bangkok for young people is marked by profound, interlocking changes and transitions. This book offers an ethnographic account of growing up in the city’s slums, struggling to get by in a rapidly developing and globalizing economy and trying to fulfil one’s dreams. At the same time, it reflects on the issue of agency, exploring its negative potential when exercised by young people living under severe structural constraint. It offers an antidote to neoliberal ideas around personal responsibility, and the assumed potential for individuals to break through structures of constraint in any sustained way.

Sorcha Mahony works as Senior Researcher at The Children’s Society, a charity that supports vulnerable children and young people in their search for a better life in England and Wales. She lives in London with her two children and volunteers with young refugees in her spare time.

Subject: General Anthropology Development Studies Urban Studies
Area: Asia


List of Figures



Chapter 1. Setting the Scene
Chapter 2. What Do We Know About Growing up in the Slums of Bangkok?
Chapter 3. Fieldwork


Chapter 4. Living the Teenage Life
Chapter 5. Doing the Right Thing
Chapter 6. Forging the Future




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