“Buddhist Majoritarian Nationalism in Thailand: Ideological Contestation, Narratives, and Activism” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2022.2036360) is a new JCA article by Janjira Sombatpoonsiri of the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand and the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), in Hamburg, Germany.
The abstract for the paper states:
This article examines the narratives that underpin the activism of Buddhist nationalist movements in Thailand. In arguing that these movements represent an emerging strand of Thai nationalism – Buddhist majoritarian nationalism – the focus is on three discursive components that shape the contours of the movements’ narratives. The first component regards a two-prong threat against Buddhism: political elites subservient to the Muslim minority and the latter’s growing influence. Second, averting these threats necessitates a new form of national consciousness that places Buddhism and Buddhists as the country’s majority at the centre of national identity. Third, this ideological position accompanies the movements’ aspiration to further conflate religion and polity. This argument is situated in the historical inter-relationship of the state, nationalism, and Buddhism, while tracing how recent political upheavals, including political polarisation, influence the movements’ organisational development and discourses. The latter has been mainly promulgated online, but at times have inspired offline protest activism. The Thai movements display various commonalities with their counterparts in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, but their ability to challenge royal nationalism and influence explicitly religious policies remains to be seen.