Legitimacy and Military Rule in Today’s Thailand

Amidst a wave of recent studies on the global decline of democracy and the concurrent resurgence of authoritarianism (Diamond 2008; Diamond 2015), the Thai case stands out because unlike authoritarian regimes elsewhere, Thailand since May 2014 has been the only country under full-fledged military rule in the world (Barany 2015: 88). Previously believed to be out of fashion, military rule made a [...]

The Colour-Coded Movements as a Space to Enhance Women’s Political Power

This article derived from a dissertation entitled “Women’s New Political Space in Thailand: A Case Study of the Red and Yellow Shirt Movements”, which set out to explore the extent of women’s participation in the Red and Yellow Shirt Movements in Thailand during the period of the vibrant protests (2006 – 2014). 1 The selected subject of the study was women, from both political camps, [...]

Misunderstanding the Internet, Misunderstanding the Users: Cases from Thailand

The Internet led to exciting claims and predictions about how it could change the world, one area of which was in terms of democratisation. Academics in the 1990s predicted that with its decentralized, uncontrolled and anonymous nature, the Internet would help liberate people living under autocratic regimes. The prospect of the Internet as a liberating tool was hyped during the Arab Spring and [...]

Sculpting and Casting Memory and History in a Northern Thai City

Monuments and statues have long been popular among states seeking to define collective memory. Such obsession with statuary commemoration has even been described by some as a sort of ‘statuemania’, an ailment of national elites and urban planners not only in the west, but also in places like Thailand, where new monuments began to dot the urban landscape of Bangkok in the early twentieth [...]

Mengukir dan Membuang Kenangan dan Sejarah di sebuah kota di Thailand Utara

Tugu-tugu dan patung-patung telah lama terkenal di kalangan negara-negara yang berusaha untuk menjelaskan kenangan bersama. Obsesi tersebut dengan peringatan patung bahkan telah digambarkan oleh beberapa sebagai semacam ‘patung mania’, sebuah penyakit dari para elit nasional dan perencana kota yang tidak hanya terjadi di dunia barat, tetapi juga di berbagai tempat seperti Thailand, dengan [...]

Counter-memory: Replaying Political Violence in Thai Digital Cinema

Central to the Thai term for memory khwamsongcham = ความทรงจำ is song, which literally translates as form or medium. The word khwamsongcham in itself forges an embodiment of the past (albeit always interpreted), and signals the capacity for the transformation of memory through various forms and mediums, including social practices and material culture. One commits to embodied [...]

Kenangan-Perlawanan: Memainkan Ulang Kekerasan Politik dalam Sinema Digital Thailand

Berpusat pada terminologi Thailand untuk kenangan khwamsongcham = ความทรงจำ adalah song, yang secara literal artinya bentuk atau perantara. Kata khwamsongcham sendiri menempa perwujudan masa lalu (walaupun selalu ditafsirkan), dan menandai kapasitas untuk perubahan kenangan melalui berbagai bentuk dan perantara, meliputi praktik-praktik sosial dan kebudayaan material. Seseorang [...]

ความทรงจำทวนกระแส: การฉายซ้ำความรุนแรงทางการเมืองในภาพยนตร์ยุคดิจิทัลของไทย

ในภาษาไทย คำว่า ความทรงจำ คำที่อยู่ตรงกลางคือคำว่า ทรง ซึ่งแปลตรงตัวหมายถึงรูปทรงหรือสื่อกลาง คำว่า ความทรงจำ [...]

An Arms Race in Southeast Asia: The Claims and Realities

This paper sets out to challenge the conventional wisdom that structural factors consist of the China threat, and that the ongoing South China Sea disputes are the prime factors in the current military build-ups in Southeast Asia. Structural explanations such as these are insufficient to explain the full account of regional military dynamics. Instead, this research argues that military build-ups [...]

The good child’s duties: childhood in militarized Thailand

The Thai national children’s day (wan dek), the local version of the International Day for Protection of Children, is celebrated in Thailand on the second week of January. For the occasion, various government offices, including major military installations, are open to children and their families. On wan dek in 2014, I went to the Bangkok headquarters of the Royal Thai Armed Forces on [...]

Revitalising Cooperatives of Agricultural Communities: OTOP Organisations in Thai Villages

Thailand’s OTOP (One Tambon One Product) project was initiated in 2001 in line with the government’s policy for encouraging economic growth in local communities. Since farmers and other agriculturalists in rural areas basically rely on the support of municipality and central government (Rigg and Ritchie, 2002), the OTOP project was aimed to expand economic activities of rural people to earn [...]

Rethinking “Religion” from the Margins

We have long been hearing about the degeneration of Buddhism in Thailand, most often accompanying scandals involving monks who deal with money, magic, or sex. Such realities are inevitably attributed to modernity or globalization. However, the relative decline of the Sangha as a state-sanctioned ecclesia does not necessarily mean the decline of religion in general. Rather, there is an emerging [...]

Menimbang-ulang “Agama” dari sudut pinggiran

Berita tentang kematian Buddhisme di Thailand telah lama terdengar, paling sering diikuti dengan skandal yang melibatkan sejumlah biksu yang berurusan dengan uang, sihir, atau seks. Beragam kenyataan tersebut pastinya terkait dengan modernitas atau globalisasi. Namun, memudarnya pengaruh Sangha sebagai kumpulan sanksi negara tidak berarti penurunan agama secara umum. Sebaliknya, itu berarti bahwa [...]

Staging Hinduism in the Bangkok metropolis: Ritual spectacle and religious pluralism in an urban Thai Buddhist milieu

In recent decades Thai Buddhists increasingly have turned to Hindu deities as benevolent sources of miraculous assistance and devotional intimacy. Within contemporary Bangkok there are many public sites fueling curiosity in Hindu deities and devotional practices, if not Hinduism itself. There are Hindu temples originally founded by Indian migrants to serve diasporic communities, such as the Sri [...]

REVIEW— Ballot and Gratitude: Dynamic of Electoral Politics and Clientelism in Thailand

Ballot and Gratitude: Dynamic of Electoral Politics and the Clientelism in Thailand (Heeb Butr Gub Boon Koon: Karn Meung Karn Leuke Tang Lae Karn Plien Plang Krue Kai-U-Pa-Tarm) Viengrat Nethipo Chiang Mai: Center for ASEAN Studies, 2015 Clientelism, the theoretical ground of the book, is the reciprocal relationship between patron and client where the former holds the power of sanction. Referring [...]

“Family” making in Sino-Thai Relations

This article is to set a broad proposition about examining the Sino-Thai relations through cultural linguistic aspects. In this regard, today it is common to hear leaders from China and Thailand frequently express their close ties by stating that “the Chinese and the Thais are the same family” (中泰一家親). The frequent explanation of this intimacy normally refers to their mutual [...]

“Arrested Development” Why and how the Thai junta disciplines labor

Since the National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO) has taken control of the Thai administration, criticism of its handling of the economy has been widespread. While critics have focused on the junta’s lack of expertise and the short-term outcomes of its economic policies, there has been little attention on its distinctive strategies. This paper focuses on the conjuncture in Thailand’s [...]

Same-Sex Relationships: Moves to Recognition in Vietnam and Thailand

The first law recognising same-sex relationships was enacted in the Netherlands in 1979, extending survivor tenancy rights to rent controlled apartments. The first law setting up a registration system for same-sex couples came in Denmark in 1989, which granted a package of rights in parallel with, but outside of, marriage. The first law opening marriage to same-sex couples was enacted in the [...]

REVIEW: Rueng Lao Mueng Tai: Pholawat Khong Mueng Chai Dan Thai Phama

 Niti Pawakapan. เรื่องเล่าเมืองไต: พลวัตของเมืองชายแดนไทย-พม่า Rueng Lao Mueng Tai: Pholawat Khong Mueng Chai Dan Thai Phama (Story of Tai Town: Dynamics of the Town within Borderline between Thailand and Myanmar)Chiang Mai: Center for ASEAN Studies, 2015. From 1991 to 1993, Niti Pawakapan, a well-known [...]

Enticing Patriotism: Thai National Anthems and Elites’ Political Interests in the 1930s

In May 2014, a video clip of an illegal Myanmarese immigrant singing the Thai national anthem with native-like proficiency at the order of the Thai police went viral, becoming an ironic spectacle for Thai citizens, who often assume only they can accurately sing the song. From this presumption, officers have used the singing of the anthem as a test to determine whether a suspected immigrant is a [...]

Civil Discourse and Civil Society: The dysfunctional culture of Thai academia

It is a strange irony that in Thailand a small group of people can take over the country at gun point, yet no one can turn round and tell them to f*ck off without somehow occupying the moral low ground. Many times, after making ‘strong’ statements about the junta, or about social and political issues in general, I have been told by Thai colleagues, typically academics, that it is [...]

Ugly Americans, Ugly Thais

On January 26, 2015, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, Daniel R. Russel, delivered a speech at Chulalongkorn University, urging the end of martial law throughout the country and the removal of restrictions of speech and assembly. 1 In the following days Thai Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, lambasted the speech, and said martial law would not be lifted as it [...]

Inequality and Politics in Thailand

Writing in Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville famously declared the ‘general equality of conditions’ the foundation of American democracy. For Thailand, it is different, for it is the general inequality of condition that defines it. Modifying Tocqueville’s words, we can say that Thailand’s inequality has a prodigious influence and exercises the whole course of society, by giving [...]

REVIEW: A new religious cult for Thai middle-class?

Kamin Kamani (คามิน คมนีย์). เย็นวันเสาร์-เช้าวันอาทิตย์ (The Sunday Morning Club)Bangkok: Amarin Publishing, 2004 (1st edition); Banbook Publishing, 2014 (2nd edition). Kamin Kamani (คามิน คมนีย์). หัว*ใจ*เท้า (Head, Heart and Feet)Bangkok: Banbook Publishing, 2014. As symptoms of [...]

The Challenging Circumstances And Future Prospects For Thai Rice Farmers

The general question of Thai rice production, and its prospects – as a problem, or series of problems, requiring and necessitating further investigation – interlinks with a number of other important ongoing questions, factors, and considerations. More specifically, the main concerns constituting this problem are, today, essentially strategic for all of the key rice production [...]
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