The Thai monarchy is usually presented as the guardian of tradition and the institution to bring modernity and progress to the Thai people, and it is seen as protector of the nation. Scrutinizing that image, this volume reviews the fascinating history of the modern monarchy. It also analyses cultural, historical, political, religious, and legal forces shaping the popular image of the monarchy and, in particular, of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thus, the book offers valuable insights into the relationships between monarchy, religion and democracy in Thailand - topics that, after the September 2006 coup d'etat, gained renewed national and international interest. Addressing such contentious issues as Thai-style democracy, lese majeste legislation, religious symbolism and politics, monarchical traditions, and the royal sufficiency economy, the book will be of interest to a broad spectrum of academics, journalists and other interested readers outside academia.
Soren Ivarsson, associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, is particularly interested in nationalism, state formation and historiography. His monograph, Creating Laos, was published by NIAS Press in 2008 and has attracted much acclaim. Lotte Isager is an anthropologist and geographer working at the University of Copenhagen. Her primary research interests are environmental management, agrarian change, governance and identity politics in Southeast Asia and East Africa.
1. Introduction: Challenging the Standard Total View of the Thai Monarchy (SA ren Ivarsson and Lotte Isager); 2. Virtual Divinity: A 21st Century Discourse of Thai Royal Influence (Peter A. Jackson); 3. Entertainment Nationalism: The Royal Gaze and the Gaze at the Royals (Sarun Krittikarn); 4. Culture of Monarchy: A Repertory Theatre through Time (Martin Platt); 5. The Intricacies of Lese-Majesty: A Comparative Study of Imperial Germany and Modern Thailand (David Streckfuss); 6. The Monarchy and the Royalist Movement in Modern Thai Politics, 1932-1957 (Nattapoll Chaiching); 7. 'Thai-Style Democracy': The Royalist Struggle for Thailand's Politics (Kevin Hewison and Kengkij Kitirianglarp); 8. Post-Coup Royalist Groups: Re-inventing Military and Ideological Power (Han Krittian); 9. Strengthening the Moral Fibre of the Nation: The King's Sufficiency Economy as Etho-politics (Lotte Isager and SA ren Ivarsson); 10. Royal Sufficiency and Elite Misrepresentation of Rural Livelihoods (Andrew Walker); Index