Democracy and National Identity in Thailand

by Michael Kelly Connors

Available from NIAS Press worldwide
ISBN Paperback: 978 87 7694 002 7, £19.99 ()

A fascinating discussion of how debates about democracy and national identity in Thailand have evolved.

This revised and updated edition of the widely praised Democracy and National Identity in Thailand provides readers with a fascinating discussion of how debates about democracy and national identity in Thailand have evolved from the period of counter-insurgency in the 1960s to the current (post-coup) period.

Focusing on state- and civil society-centred democratic projects, Connors uses original Thai language sources to trace how the Thai state developed a democratic ideology that meshed with idealized notions of Thai identity, focusing on the monarchy. The book moves on to explore how non-state actors have mobilized notions of democracy and national identity in their battle against authoritarian rule.

A new chapter explores the fate of the democratic project under the Thaksin regime. Using an approach applicable to the study of other democratizing societies, Democracy and National Identity in Thailand invites readers to explore democratic ideology as a form of power aimed at creating ideal citizens able to support elite national projects.

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Read Micahel Connor’s blog at Sovereign Myth.

Read Micahel Connor’s blog at Sovereign Myth.

Go to author page

by Reviewed by Kasian Tejapira
From journal:
Pacific Affairs

 

 

"Making sensible, adroit and fruitful use of Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and Michel Foucault’s concept of governmentality…[Connors] offers an insightful and penetrating analytical, critical history of democracy in modern Thai politics as a series of overlapping and conflicting projects by various groups of state elites to build their respective political hegemony and inculcate varying rationalities of government into the people, in articulation with the established official national identity…his conceptual coinage of democrasubjection, succinctly defined as "the subjection of people to imaginary forms of their own rule " amounts to a radical and thorough critique of the potentially oppressive and exploitative, ideological and institutional work that democracy does to produce subject-citizens out of the raw material of people, and should be applicable to any people still haunted by democracy."

by Andreas Sturm
From journal:
Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism

“[Connors’] book has successfully provided a new view on Thai politics, particularly the connection between democracy and national identity; one hopes that the author will soon produce more works on T

“[Connors’] book has successfully provided a new view on Thai politics, particularly the connection between democracy and national identity; one hopes that the author will soon produce more works on Thailand. He has in any case paved the way for future scholars of modern Thai politics to explore its richness and complexity.”

by Robert H. Taylor
From journal:
Asian Affairs

“[This] is a significant contribution to Thai political studies in English… it is a major scholarly achievement.

“[This] is a significant contribution to Thai political studies in English… it is a major scholarly achievement. Michael Kelly Connors has clearly mastered the fundamental literature on the politics and political thought in modern Thailand and lays out the result with admirable vigour and clarity.”

by William Callahan
From journal:
Democratization

“…a book that is rich in both detail and analysis. Connors has assembled an impressive array of evidence from primary sources, and he argues his points with eloquence.”

“…a book that is rich in both detail and analysis. Connors has assembled an impressive array of evidence from primary sources, and he argues his points with eloquence.”

by Andrew Walker
From journal:
Journal of Contemporary Asia

“This is a complex and subtle book that warrants careful reading and re-reading… a wonderfully constructed and thought-provoking account of the many elements of modern Thai democracy discourse.

“This is a complex and subtle book that warrants careful reading and re-reading… a wonderfully constructed and thought-provoking account of the many elements of modern Thai democracy discourse. It reflects a deep engagement with Thai language material and, through the careful use of political and social theory, weaves this material into a coherent narrative of the long-term development of democratic ideology…this book is bound to prompt ongoing debate and discussion.”

by Kevin Hewison)
From journal:
Australian Journal of International Affairs

“Michael Connors has produced a very good book, rich in detail and theoretically sophisticated.”

“Michael Connors has produced a very good book, rich in detail and theoretically sophisticated.”

by Narayanan Ganesan
From journal:
Asian Journal of Political Science

“[T]his book is a sophisticated rendition of Thai politics…It is certainly an important work that seeks to introduce a measure of analytical abstraction to the study of Thailand.”

“[T]his book is a sophisticated rendition of Thai politics…It is certainly an important work that seeks to introduce a measure of analytical abstraction to the study of Thailand.”

by Chris Baker
From journal:
The Bangkok Post

“This is an important book and deserves a local readership.”

“This is an important book and deserves a local readership.”

by Michael Herzfeld
From journal:
Journal of Asian Studies

“In this constructively controversial work of political critique, which should be of widely interdisciplinary interest, Michael Connors offers a trenchantly Gramscian reading of “democracy” in Thailan

“In this constructively controversial work of political critique, which should be of widely interdisciplinary interest, Michael Connors offers a trenchantly Gramscian reading of “democracy” in Thailand. His dissection of popular legitimacy rests on an erudite and well-argued account of how the confluence of monarchist and liberal ideologies emerged from the detritus of Cold War dictatorship and bureaucratic intransigence…. his intelligent and forceful provocation should engage substantive debate and provoke new avenues of research — as well, perhaps, as internal political critique — for many years to come.”

by Emilian Kavalski
From journal:
Comparative Sociology

“Democracy and National Identity in Thailand is by far one of the most provocative, yet illuminating, studies on ‘developmental liberalism’ in Thailand, per se, and on the ratiocination of ‘non-

“Democracy and National Identity in Thailand is by far one of the most provocative, yet illuminating, studies on ‘developmental liberalism’ in Thailand, per se, and on the ratiocination of ‘non-Western’ forms of democratic government, in general. To a large extent it is the result of the author’s sagacious process-tracing approach of ‘the new mechanisms of subjection that take root as the discourse of democracy is globalised’… Democracy and National Identity in Thailand is an excellent example of a consistent and perspicacious research, which follows closely the development of the problems under discussion, without breeching its methodological ramifications…[it] will be extremely relevant to anyone studying, working and dealing with issues of democratisation, nationalism and Southeast Asian studies; as well as to the broader audience of students of political theory and international politics.”

by Bertil Lintner
From journal:
Asia Pacific Media Services Limited

“…this book will help many better understand the complexities of modern Thai politics…”

“…this book will help many better understand the complexities of modern Thai politics…”

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