Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Fredrick O. Lorenz

Second Advisor

Willis J. Goudy


This study examines the impact of the Thai government's rural community development program, the Virtuous and Prosperous Land (VPL) program. The main tenet of this is an application of Buddhist doctrines to achieve development. The data used were from a study of "People's Participation in the Virtuous and Prosperous Land (VPL) Program," conducted by the Office of the National Research Council of Thailand during May-July of 1986. Social action theory is used to predict relationships between the actors (residents of rural Thailand), the situation (participation in the VPL program), the actors' orientation to the situation (represented by mind purification, abstinence from vice, perception of the program and attitudes toward village activities), and the goal (participation in village improvement activities). Comparisons between participants and nonparticipants in the VPL program on orientation to situation and goal variables are made. Chi-square analysis, Pearson correlation coefficients, and path analysis are used for data analysis. The findings suggest that the VPL program contributed little substantive significance to the orientation of behavior of the villagers. The program also made little contribution toward increasing participation in community activities, the main goal of the program. The analysis indicated that activity in village programs did not substantively differ between those who did and did not participate in the VPL program. Developing programs which meet villagers' needs will depend on enhancing the effectiveness of two key community leaders (change agents and Buddhist monks) in carrying out program activities. Increasing the capacity of programs to blend Buddhist doctrines with fundamental development is suggested.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Wanna Panmunin



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

174 pages

Included in

Sociology Commons