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.
Table of Contents
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.