A new book which will be of interest to many New Mandala readers.

Legitimacy Crisis in Thailand

Edited by Marc Askew

Intense political polarization, confrontation and violence have rocked Thailand recently, much of it a divisive legacy of the 2006 coup. Conflicts centre on the legitimacy of institutions and the uses and abuses of power alongside the parallel crisis of state legitimacy posed by the ongoing violence in the country’s Deep South. This collection of essays explores themes and issues arising from the continuing confrontations that have dominated Thailand’s domestic affairs and affected its international relations in the years 2008 to early 2010. Based on extensive research and documentation, this volume offers an important review and analysis of key events and trends in Thailand’s volatile public affairs during this period.

The book brings together essays by Thai specialists as well as Western scholars on pivotal topics connected to Thailand’s current legitimacy crisis. It begins with a lively narrative of major events and in subsequent chapters covers the politicization of the Khao Phra Wihan (Preah Vihear) temple issue; the People’s Alliance for Democracy and its “New Politics”; the politicization of the Thai media; the revived role of the Thai military in influencing politics and governance; and the challenge of the persistent unrest in Thailand’s south. The book concludes with an insightful analysis of the key challenges facing the country politically, institutionally and economically. The events of March–May 2010, which saw a dramatic face off between the red-shirt movement and the government, are discussed in an afterword.

This collection is published as volume 5 in the yearbook series of King Prajadhipok’s Institute, Thailand.

About the editor

MARC ASKEW is Senior Fellow in Anthropology in the School of Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry, University of Melbourne. His recent publications include: Conspiracy, Politics and a Disorderly Border: The Struggle to Comprehend Insurgency in Thailand’s Deep South (2007); Performing Political Identity: The Democrat Party in Southern Thailand (2008).


1. Introduction: Contested Legitimacy in Thailand, Marc Askew

2. Confrontation and Crisis in Thailand, 2008–2010, Marc Askew

3. Temple of Doom: Hysteria About the Preah Vihear Temple in the Thai Nationalist Discourse, Pavin Chachavalpongpun

4. Thailand’s People’s Alliance for Democracy: From “New Politics” to a “Real” Political Party? Michael H. Nelson

5. Distorted Mirror and Lamp: The Politicization of the Thai Media in the Post-Thaksin Era, Pravit Rojanaphruk and Jiranan Hanthamrongwit

6. In the Shadow of the Soldier’s Boot: Assessing Civil-Military Relations in Thailand, Paul Chambers

7. The Spectre of the South: Regional Instability as National Crisis, Marc Askew

8. Four Thai Pathologies, Late 2009, Michael J. Montesano

Afterword: The Clash of March–May 2010, Marc Askew

Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Email: [email protected]
Website: www.silkwormbooks.com
Distributed outside Southeast Asia by the University of Washington Press: http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/search/books/ASKLEG.html