Pornthip (Kim) Netiparatanakul: A Tribute

The Department of Sociological Studies would like to pay tribute to Pornthip (Kim) Netiparatanakul.

PhD Student Kim Netiparatanakul holding flowers

It is with great sadness that the Department of Sociological Studies shares the news of Pornthip (Kim) Netiparatanakul's death. 

Kim was a PhD student in the Department from May 2016 to June 2020. Her research explored the importance of reciprocity in caring for older people living with dementia, focussing on the experiences of female family carers in Thailand.

The daughter of Chinese migrants to Thailand, Kim grew up with an acute awareness of family responsibilities and the complexity of their negotiation, intersecting as they did with religion and gender. Ironically, her PhD studies were interrupted by the news of her grandmother’s stage 4 cancer. As her main carer, Kim travelled back to Bangkok to fulfil her grandmother’s wish to be looked after at home.

After her viva, held online due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Kim returned once more to Thailand, to the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Thammasat University. She was diagnosed with breast cancer while still undertaking the minor amendments on her thesis but found the strength to be able to complete them and be awarded her doctorate.

PhD Student Kim Netiparatanakul Online viva
Kim's viva, held online in 2020

Kim was a joy to work with. A bright and unassuming student, she won the best poster prize at the 2018 Dementia Futures Conference, Sheffield, for the ongoing analysis of her research findings. Her subsequent thesis offers a significant contribution to the mapping of care relations by extending understanding of the concept of ‘katanyu’ (gratitude) and its relationship to Buddhist belief in karma and the cycle of birth and rebirth. 

Tributes from other postgraduate students in Sociological Studies have attested to the sense of responsibility and empathy that Kim conveyed when talking about the older people and carers who took part in her research. Her thoughtfulness and kindness extended beyond her research to include her peers and friends, supporting and encouraging them to write up their studies. Kim impressed them with wide-ranging talents and qualities: speaking Mandarin, playing ‘beautiful music’, singing ‘amazing songs’, she was a ‘lovely’ person who brought happiness.

The Department is proud of Kim's contributions to research and honoured to have had her as a member of our research community.

Tribute written by Kim's PhD supervisor, Dr Lorna Warren.