This thesis examines dress, textiles, and identity of the Tai Dam or Black Tai living in Loei Province, Northeastern Thailand. The thesis focuses on the contemporary role of traditional and tradition-based Black Tai textiles and dress as material and symbolic representations of Black Tai ethnic and socio-cultural identity. The ethnographic research utilizing participant observation, interviews, observation of behaviour and interactions provided a wealth of information for analysis. The interpretive analysis of textiles and ethnic dress reveals that dress and textiles serve a crucial role in ethnic and cultural continuity among the Black Tai peoples; however a number of types of traditional textiles have been lost due to acculturation and commercialization. Textiles continue to figure prominently in the religious beliefs and practices of the Tai Dam as well as serving as markers of status, functioning to promote cultural and social cohesion, and more recently serving as a means of economic development.
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