Thailand’s anti-royalism

It is unusual for JCA to publish an anonymous article. However, for the latest article at the publisher’s website, “Anti-Royalism in Thailand Since 2006: Ideological Shifts and Resistance” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1427021), we have withheld the author’s name.

This decision reflects the fact that Thailand’s government strictly enforces a draconian lèse-majesté law, with the military junta that came to power in 2014 jailing scores of people. For this reason, the Journal and the author decided to publish this article anonymously. The last time that we did something like this was for an article on Thailand in 1978, which was published under a pseudonym.

The article is available for free download, but only for a few weeks.

The abstract for the paper states:

Since the military coup d’état of 2006 and the downfall of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand has experienced chronic political turmoil. Crises of legitimacy expanded to engulf every political institution. This includes the monarchy, usually claimed to be the most “beloved” and “revered” of all institutions, and which has faced widespread anti-royalism since 2006. In this article, it is argued that this recent anti-royalism was neither a well-planned scheme or plot, as claimed by the country’s military junta, nor driven by Marxist or republican ideologies that featured in previous bouts of anti-monarchism. Rather, the new anti-royalism will be shown to have emerged from the royalist hegemony that has been deepened since the late 1970s. Moreover, anti-royalist ideas and expressions have shifted dynamically as society has become more polarised. Thailand’s political conflict is overwhelmingly characterised by contestations over meanings. In this context and in a highly repressive political and legal context, those who wished to challenge royal power used metaphorical ambiguity, jokes, vulgarity and parody on a daily basis. These arts of resistance were reproduced through popular channels which tended to escape state surveillance, for instance, protest songs, poetry, chats at gathering sites, formal and informal speeches, and symbols in both on and offline worlds.

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