Time-geographic Analysis on Natural Resource Use in a Village of the Vientiane Plain

Yuichiro Nishimura, Kohei Okamoto, Somkhit Boulidam
2010 Tonan ajia kenkyu  
This study aims to describe the spatio-temporal aspects of rural daily lives based on natural resource use. We developed new research methodologies using GPS and GIS to collect person-trip data in regions where it is difficult to use questionnaires. By applying the methodology to research conducted in the Vientiane plain, Laos, we have found that this new methodology makes it possible to obtain detailed information about people's daily activities, specifically: what activities were carried out,
more » ... s were carried out, at what time, where, and with whom. The research site was Dongkhuwaai Village, Xaithany District, located about ῏ῌ km by road from Vientiane. The villagers live traditionally, depending on rice crops in the rainy season and use various natural resources. We analyzed their daily activities both in the rainy season and in the dry season. As a result, we found that the daily activities of the villagers had nature-related constraints. They spent all their time in the settlements and there were no modern forms of time discipline (synchronized activity by household members). We also investigated the influence of urbanization on rural lives. In recent years, a growing number of foreign companies have begun investing in Vientiane and the vicinity, hoping to take advantage of low labor costs. Commuting to such factories has started from Dongkhuwaai Village. However, the number of commuters is not increasing because villagers already have other sources of income from selling natural resources such as aquatic products, mushroom, bamboo shoots, insects, firewood and so on. villagers in Dongkhuwaai village where our study was carried out. Villager's daily life consists of working, commuting, consuming and enjoying leisure with their family, relatives, neighbors, and friends at home, within the village territory, and outside the village. This study focuses on the daily life of peri-urban village people and examines changes in their lives induced by the penetration of the market economy based on a spatio-temporal analysis of their behavior. In order to collect the necessary information including where, when and how long each individual's activities continue for various job activities such as farming, hunting and gathering, fishing, housekeeping social interaction and communication such as shopping, sales, and visiting friends or relatives, this study adopted a time-geography approach. Special attention is paid to natural resources use because it has and will characterize Laos' development [Kono et al. ῏῍῎῍]. Time-geographic, which was originally developed by the Swedish geographer Torsten Hägerstrand, describes the relation between individuals and natural and social environments as an interaction among "matters" in time and space [Hägerstrand ῎ῒῐ῍; ῎ῒῑῒ]. That is to say, an individual's daily life is structured through their relationships with various things in nature and other individuals in society. By using a timegeography approach, matters such as human beings, animals, plants and things can be described as "paths" in time and space, and the interactions between these matters can be represented as connections of paths. Furthermore, paths themselves are under a variety of constraints which can be classified into the following three types [Hägerstrand ῎ῒῐ῍; ῎ῒῑῒ; Gregory ῎ῒῑ῎]. ( a ) Capability constraints, which limit the activities of individuals through their own physical capabilities and/or the facilities they can command. ( b ) Coupling constraints, which define where, when and for how long the individual has to join other people, and use tools and materials in order to produce, transact or consume. ( c ) Authority constraints, which impose certain conditions of access on particular space-time domains. The paths of matters change under various temporal scales, being subjected to daily, monthly, seasonal and annual rhythms and furthermore, they are constrained temporally as well as spatially. Matters can exist or act only within specific places that are changeable in various temporal scales. As such, spatio-temporal change and constraints come not only from nature but also from society [Hägerstrand ῎ῒῐ῍; ῎ῒῑῒ]. Pred has described how workers in nineteenth-century U. S. cities who were employed in factories and large-scale shops, were forced to follow a time discipline that they had not experienced previously during the early stages of industrial capitalism. "Factory and large-scale shop work inculcated a sense of time that was greatly different from the sense of knowing, for example, when cows were to be milked or when fires were to be fed in order to maintain a smelting or heating process" [῎ῒῑ῎: ῒῌ῎῍]. This was the emergence of nine-to-five work, and such work is described in the time-geographic notion as the N>H=>BJG6 Y. et alῌ : Time-geographic Analysis on Natural Resource Use in a Village of the Vientiane Plain 427 Kyoto University NII-Electronic Library Service
doi:10.20495/tak.47.4_426 fatcat:si7p5byrvbcnxcwrfwfgnrayxa