UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Decentralization, social capital, and capability in environmental management : case study of Tambon Maeta, Chiang Mai, Thailand Petkanjanapong, Poome


This research uses social capital concepts to study changes of capability in environmental self-management in Tambon Maeta, Chiang Mai, Thailand, after decentralization. From the macro perspective, this research found that the Maeta social network’s structure was much changed by decentralization, with noticeably greater social capital and capability in environmental management evident following the transition. Decentralization extended the size of the network, increased diversity in the population of Maeta network members, and expanded the number of political resources held by people in the network. In turn, this reshaping of the social network generated greater embedded resources, which are a determinate of social capital. This study found that, at the relational level, people in Tambon Maeta use social linkages as a main channel for resource exchange, both between organizations and between local government and local people. Local organizations’ and local governments’ capabilities in environmental management stem partly from the social capital of their respective leaders, such that their access to embedded resources in the Tambon Maeta social network is determined by the strength of ties between these leaders. The stronger the linkages, the greater the ability of local organizations to receive and share resources. For individuals, ordinary people who have stronger ties with local government officers can receive superior information more promptly, which affects their capability in environmental use and supervision. The results of this research demonstrate that decentralization can promote rural people’s capability in environmental self-management even when a central government has not directly transferred authority over environmental regulations to local governments. In addition, building strong relationships with local environmental groups can increase a local government’s capability in environmental management.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada