Women Weaving Well-Being: The Social Reproduction of Health in Laos
Lundberg, Kristin V.
University of Kansas
This item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract This dissertation describes how people in contemporary urban Laos use relationships, information, and material goods to socially reproduce well-being or what Lao know as being sabaai. The research focuses on women weavers who support their families with their handweaving yet labor not just for cash. As women weave, they shape their own well-being as well as their families. Handweaving exemplifies the social reproduction of health because it procures essentials of daily living, bestows gender approval, reinforces social hierarchy, and perpetuates cultural values. Also examined in this dissertation is whether changes in weaving work arrangements have altered how the social reproduction of health occurs. The social reproduction of health perspective refers to how people marshal knowledge and use resources to create, maintain, and perpetuate health. It is the assessment of society's ability to generate well-being, assure the continuum of generations, and maintain a way of life. Standard anthropological methods of participation observation, informal and formal interviewing, life history collection, ethnographic surveying, analysis of demographic health data, and review of documents and reports were used for research. Fieldwork was conducted in Laos for 16 months from August 2003 through December 2005. The data in this dissertation show that familial social relationships are paramount for Lao well-being. Achieving sabaai also depends on cleanliness, a spiritual and physical balance, a regard for that which is natural, and specific Lao rituals and practices. The data also demonstrate how Lao textiles embody what happens in people's lives. Lastly, the data conclude that weaving outside the familial setting does not provide new or better ways to socially reproduce health. Weaving and being sabaai are still connected, for the most part, to family and kin in Lao society.
- Anthropology Dissertations and Theses 
- Dissertations 
Items in KU ScholarWorks are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
We want to hear from you! Please share your stories about how Open Access to this item benefits YOU.