The Impact of Globalization on Cultures

Globalization and Youth Development

Research team

Jessica McKenzie, Principal Investigator
Arusa Panyakotkaew, Research Assistant

Key information

Full title: Globalization and Youth Development: Tracking the Developmental Implications of Cultural Change in Northern Thailand
Host institutions: Chiang Mai University (Thailand); California State University, Fresno (USA)
Research location: Thailand

Project overview 

Ten years ago, a group of young Thai monks quietly reconvened at the local temple after having circulated through the community at dawn to receive food donations from villagers. Today, while a Buddhist mantra is broadcast via the temple’s loud speaker, a group of young Thai monks equipped with bags of Lay’s potato chips and tins of 7-Eleven coffee take a quick selfie in front of the stupa and post it on social media before heading to their first lesson of the day: English. Globalization and modern technology have visibly altered the experience of monastic youth in Thailand. What impact might these same forces have on the development of Thai youth more generally—including among typically unseen rural youth?

Wat Lok Moli (Chiang Mai, Thailand) – Photo by Jessica McKenzie

This project examines how globalization has reshaped youth development in rapidly globalizing Thailand. To do so, I will return to the same rural village and nearby urban city where I gathered data in 2012 to determine how adolescent values and behaviors (media, language, diet, religion) have—and have not—changed in the intervening years, which has been marked by an explosion of digital media integration. In addition to this overarching goal, this new wave of data collection aims to:

  • determine whether previous differences in rural and urban adolescents’ values and behaviors have held or fallen away with the recent arrival of high-speed internet in the rural location;
  • understand whether and how Thai adolescents maintain, innovate, and/or avoid traditional values and behaviors now that they have more exposure to global values and behaviors; and
  • clarify if and how adolescents’ global behaviors relate to the values they prioritize.

Beyond revealing how the evolution of culture has reshaped youth development in Thailand, this study promises to offer clues for thinking about the developmental implications of cultural evolution in other rapidly globalizing contexts.

Project contacts

If you would like to contact the project team, please email the grant management team in the first instance, at

Jessica McKenzie: Website