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Tracks and Traces

Tracks and Traces: Thailand and the Work of Andrew Turton

Philip Hirsch
Nicholas Tapp
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 168
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  • Book Info
    Tracks and Traces
    Book Description:

    Tracks and Traces: Thailand and the Work of Andrew Turton traces the threads that tie together an understanding of Thailand as a dynamic and rapidly changing society, through an examination of the work of one major scholar of the country, Andrew Turton. Turton's anthropological studies of Thailand cover a wide spectrum from politics and economy to ritual and culture, and have been crucial in shaping evolving understandings of Thai society. In this collection, ten leading specialists on Thailand from a variety of disciplines critically consider aspects of Turton's work in relation to the changing nature of different aspects of Thai society. The book tracks the links between past and present scholarship, examines the contextuality of scholarship in its times, and sheds light on the current situation in Thailand.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1287-4
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. List of Tables, Figures, and Photographs
    (pp. 7-8)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 9-9)
    Philip Hirsch and Nicholas Tapp
  5. [Illustration]
    (pp. 10-10)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 11-16)
    Philip Hirsch and Nicholas Tapp

    How are scholars shaped by their times, experiences, political inclinations and other dimensions of the contexts in which they are studying and writing? What are the legacies of influential individual scholars as contexts change but their writings and teachings remain etched on the printed page and in the minds of their students, followers and critics? And what is the continuing or residual relevance of social science scholarship of a generation ago in as rapidly changing a society and academic environment as Thailand?

    In this collection, we address these key questions in the field of Thai studies through the wide-ranging, some...

  7. 1 Opening Reflections: Northeastern Thai Ethnoregionalism Updated
    (pp. 17-28)
    Charles Keyes

    On 20 August 2007, the electorate in Thailand was asked to vote on whether to adopt a new constitution that had been drafted under a military-led government. Although the referendum passed with 57% of the total vote, the vote also demonstrated the ‘limits of ideological domination’, with 44% of the total population of the country not going to the polls and, especially, with 62% of the population of northeastern Thailand voting against this military-backed social contract. I see the vote among northeastern Thai (orKhon Īsān) as derived from conceptions of power that contrast with those held by members of...

  8. 2 Transforming Agrarian Transformation in a Globalizing Thailand
    (pp. 29-38)
    Anan Ganjanapan and Philip Hirsch

    In a country whose countryside has changed so fundamentally since the 1970s, what is the continuing relevance and significance of frameworks, empirical investigations and analyses of agrarian transformation from the previous era? In this chapter, we consider changes in the study of rural change, looking at new contexts of study and new conceptual lenses through which we now view social and agricultural relations and their change in the Thai countryside. We also reflect specifically on Andrew Turton’s contribution to questions of power and contestation in the agrarian change literature of the time he was writing, and its legacy for the...

  9. 3 Local Leaders and the State in Thailand
    (pp. 39-46)
    Paul T. Cohen

    Andrew Turton’s analysis of local leaders in Thailand is best viewed in terms of his attempt to unravel the relationship between violence and consent in relation to state power, and the limits of that power, drawing on a diverse range of theorists (poststructuralist, neo-Gramscian and neo-Marxist). In this paper I outline and evaluate Turton’s writings on local leaders and the state in Thailand. I also endeavour to trace the relevance and connections of his work to earlier, contemporaneous and more recent scholarship relating to local headmen, dissident peasant leaders, provincial bosses, Village Scouts, urban gang leaders and charismatic Buddhist monks....

  10. 4 Roots of Ongoing Conflict: Reflections on Andrew Turton’s Analysis of Thailand in the 1970s
    (pp. 47-58)
    Jim Glassman

    In 1978, responding to the aftermath of the coup of 6 October 1976, a group of Thai scholars produced the volumeThailand – Roots of Conflict, published as a special issue of theJournal of Contemporary Asia(volume 8, number 1) and also as a book (Turton et al. 1978). Some of the predictions made by the editors of the volume – if they were in fact predictions – seem, with historical retrospect, off base. This is scarcely unusual for work in the social sciences, and indeed what may be one of the deepest illusions held by many social scientists,...

  11. 5 Censorship and Authoritative Forms of Discourse: A Reconsideration of Thai Constructions of Knowledge
    (pp. 59-74)
    Nicholas Tapp

    In this paper I attempt to locate Andrew Turton’s work (notably Turton 1984; 1991b) within the context of a post-structuralist mode of social inquiry which was replacing earlier assumptions of social and cultural homogeneity. The trend away from a purely class-oriented analysis in Turton’s work at this time was typical if not prophetic of new understandings of Thailand as a rapidly changing, dynamic and complex society, and his emphasis on the power of dominant forms of discourse as well as the exceptions to this in popular consciousness and practice has continued to prove salient to appreciations of the role of...

  12. 6 ‘Modernising Subjects’: Moral-Political Contests in Thailand’s Drive Toward Modernity
    (pp. 75-88)
    Jamaree Chiengthong

    In 2000, Peter Hinton commented on an important regional 1994 conference on ‘cross-border’ relations in Asia he had attended, which had seemed to him to be full of hope and enthusiasm. The businessman and the scholar who organised the conference were proposing an ‘Asian form’ of capitalist expansion. Remarking on John Naisbitt’s view (1966) that networks like that of the overseas Chinese were now replacing nation-states, Hinton described this as a ludicrous attempt to combine ‘thegemeinschaftof the traditional kinship structure’ with ‘thegesellschaftof the high technology global computer virtual society to create an invincibly dynamic machine for...

  13. 7 An Early Critical Foray into Participation in Thailand
    (pp. 89-102)
    Jonathan Rigg

    The term ‘participation’ has been problematic due to its multiple interpretations and because its meaning has been compromised by the ironic, but common, process of mainstream appropriation of a once-radical development concept. Wider debates around participation have a salience and a purchase in Thailand. In this short paper I am interested in putting these debates in context, in particular through an examination of Andrew Turton’s (1987) bookProduction, Power and Participation in Rural Thailand: Experiences of Poor Farmers’ Groupsand its relevance to subsequent applications of the term ‘participation’ in national development plans, critical literature and alternative development programmes. I...

  14. 8 Thai Institutions of Slavery: Their Economic and Cultural Setting
    (pp. 103-114)
    Craig J. Reynolds

    One of the many values of revisiting the work of a senior scholar is that we have a chance to consider the political and social circumstances of the historical moment in which the research was originally conducted and written up. This exercise may bring to light ideas and insights that have new significance in this contemporary moment. Too often, it seems to me, citations to important research refer merely to little known facts or details and fail to take account of the overall impact of the research, or how it has subsequently developed. For reasons I do not entirely understand,...

  15. 9 British Diplomatic Missions to Tai States in the Early Modern Period: A Reappraisal
    (pp. 115-126)
    Volker Grabowsky

    On 21 January 1830, a unique cross-cultural encounter took place in the small town of Lamphun, situated twenty miles to the south of Chiang Mai. A 33-year-old Anglo-Scottish army doctor, David Richardson, accompanied by some three dozen traders from Moulmein as well as five Indian soldiers, was received at an audience by the local ruler, Cao Luang Nòi In. This was the first encounter in over two centuries of a European with a Tai prince in the heartland of mainland Southeast Asia. In the next ten years, Richardson revisited the Tai speaking areas in present-day northern Thailand (‘Siamese Shan’) several...

  16. Appendix: Andrew Turton – A Select Bibliography
    (pp. 127-132)
  17. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 133-136)
  18. References
    (pp. 137-152)
  19. Index
    (pp. 153-160)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 161-163)