1st Edition

Thailand’s Buddhist Kingship in the 20th and 21st Centuries Power, Influence and Rites

By Marie-Sybille de Vienne Copyright 2022
    286 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    286 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Based on two decades of fieldwork, including over a hundred interviews with various political and economic actors at different social levels, as well as documentary and media analysis, this volume presents an account of the Buddhist monarchy in Thailand, offering a sociology of elites, an analysis of the economic influence of the Crown and an examination of the magic and ritual dimension of kingship. An exploration of the role and status of the Palace over the last century, whether as a guarantor of democracy, a symbol of stability, a source of power or an object of popular discontent, Thailand’s Buddhist Kingship in the 20th and 21st Centuries will appeal to scholars of sociology and anthropology with interests in material religion, politics and Southeast Asian studies.

    Part I: Notions of ‘Kingship’ and ‘Monarchy’

    1. The Setbacks and Misfortunes of Kingship

    2. About Kingship in a Tai Context

    Part II: Chakri Kingship: In Between Tradition, Nation and Constitution

    3. The Modernisation of Siamese Kingship and Its Ups And Downs, 1826-1945

    4. Kingship Restoration in The Wake of Urbanisation (1946-1988)

    5. The Tentative Merging of Kingship and Democracy (1988-2006)

    6. Institutional Melt-Down (2006-2020)

    Part III: The Crown as Stabilizer?

    7. The Privy Council: Its Articulation with Power

    8. Royal Finances and Parami

    9. Royal Symbolism and Popular Acknowledgement

    Part IV: Eschatological Anguish, Institutional Unravelling and Royal Advent

    10. Mounting Frustration

    11. From Eschatological Anguish at The End of the 9th Reign to Chaos

    12. Implosion of Consensus


    Appendix A: Lexicon of the Main Siamese, Sanskrit, and Pali Terms

    Appendix B: Thematic Bibliography


    Marie-Sybille de Vienne is Professor of Southeast Asian Politics at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations, France, member of the French Academy for Overseas Science and the author of Brunei, From the Age of Commerce to the 21st Century.