Imperial Politics and Counterinsurgency in Southern Thailand

Uneasy Military Encounters: The Imperial Politics of Counterinsurgency in Southern Thailand is a new publication from Cornell University Press, authored by Ruth Streicher.

The book is reviewed for JCA by Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat from Bangkok, Thailand.

Developed from a PhD thesis and ethnographic fieldwork in 2010–2011, Streicher’s book “provides a rare critical assessment, or deconstruction, of the military’s counterinsurgency discourse and practices.”

Rungrawee writes that:

Streicher argues that counterinsurgency operations in southern Thailand have contributed to the making of Thailand as an imperial formation. Her view is that the Buddhist-oriented modern state secures its survival by reinforcing notions of the racialised, religious and gendered Otherness of Patani and constructing the Malay Muslims as essentially and hierarchically different from Thai Buddhists.

The reviewer would have liked more on “the formalised peace dialogue launched in 2013…”,  and believing that there is “room for much further investigation,”  Rungrawee considers the “book provides a significant contribution to our knowledge of the military’s counterinsurgency operations in southern Thailand.”

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