Do high status people in an hierarchical society know how ordinary people attribute road crash causation? A case study from Thailand

King, Mark J. & King, Julie A. (2006) Do high status people in an hierarchical society know how ordinary people attribute road crash causation? A case study from Thailand. In Social Change in the 21st Century Conference, 27 October 2006, QUT Carseldine, Brisbane.

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Qualitative research into culture often relies on the perceptions and experiences of informants. A model method for improving transfer of Western road safety knowledge and expertise to low income countries recommends use of educated or expert informants to identify factors influencing road safety in the country, including cultural factors such as attribution of crash causation. However, such informants are likely to be high status, and may not provide reliable information about the crash cause attributions of ordinary members of society. This paper reports and comments on a secondary qualitative analysis of information obtained in two separate research projects in Thailand. One study focused on the implementation of a road safety program by Australian consultants, in which educated English-speaking Thais provided information on issues including attribution of crashes to karma. The other study addressed the experience of men with a spinal injury from a road crash and their carers, and involved interviews with educated higher status Thais, and translated interviews with the injured men and their carers. The secondary analysis of transcripts from each study, selected in order to facilitate valid comparison, showed that higher status Thai informants were accurate in their presumptions about attribution of crash causes at village level, although there were indications that this was based on inference rather than knowledge. There was also evidence that these attributions were interpreted by the informants as a lack of knowledge among an older generation which would disappear with better education in the new generations. The implications are discussed.

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ID Code: 6460
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: culture, karma, road safety, methodology
ISBN: 1741071291
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Mark J. King and Julie A. King
Deposited On: 09 Mar 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:23

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