Street Children as M arginal People: The Relationship between Life History and Social Networks on the Street

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SUCHARITKUL, Juthathip (2007)
  • Publisher: Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University
  • Journal: Journal of the Graduate School of Letters, volume 2, pages 103-116 (issn: 1880-8832)
  • Subject: Street Children | Marginal People | Social Network | Life History | Thailand

This paper assumes that street children are victims of socioeconomic development policy. As a consequence of the street life experience, children are labeled as street children by society and their way of their life is different from ordinary children, thus pushing them to become marginalized people. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Street Children phenomenon, and especially to study the relationship between their life history and personal networks on the street. The focus is to explain why street children are pushed into becoming marginal people. To do this, I conducted personal interviews with two street children and seven people related to them in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The main findings were: (1) The life histories of street children show that their lives are related to a special group, especially in non-kin relationships. (2) The core of their networks consists of friends who are fellow street children in the close zone who can help them to survive on the street; these close zone people are non-kin. (3) Street children survive by themselves and know that their lives are different from others, so they need space for activities and want to isolate themselves from others to protect their lives. They lose the loose zone network which provides support such as new opportunities and information to raise their socio-economic status. (4) Street children have weak status in society because the street children network domains are constricted, and most network agents do not support them to re-enter mainstream society, but rather, push them to become marginal people. From these results, it is suggested that the government and third sector parties (including NGOs) should focus more on street children support networks to solve the street children problem.
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