Claudio Sopranzetti, Red Journeys: Inside the Thai Red-Shirt Movement. Chiang Mai, Silkworm Books, 2012. xiv + 131pp.
At the time he wrote this memoir, Claudio Sopranzetti was doing fieldwork in Thailand for his dissertation in anthropology. Based on his interactions with some of the 200,000 motorcycle taxi drivers operating semi-legally in Bangkok, his study focuses on mobility and politics. Many of the taxi drivers are from the northeast, a region populated by people of Lao descent and historically one of the most disadvantaged parts of the country. The Lao cultivators and petty traders, who migrate to the capital to work in services such as driving motorcycle taxis, have long suffered from the disparaging attitudes of wealthy, urban people who view them as country bumpkins and harbour an engrained fear of an empowered labour force.