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History, Politics and the Rule of Law

James Wise



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Marshall Cavendish
01 July 2019
History; Asian history; Social & cultural history; Political structure & processes; Systems of law
This introductory book on Thai politics and the rule of law explains why chronically unstable Thailand struggles to mediate and adjudicate its political disputes. It focuses on the continuities between the pre-1932 and post-1932 periods. Since the shift to constitutional monarchy in 1932, the power of the monarch and military has endured, the legislature, electorate and, until recently, judiciary have been comparatively powerless, and constitutions and laws have been comparatively unimportant. Historical continuities are also evident in the persistence of hierarchical thinking and ethno-nationalism, both of which have inhibited open debates about governance. And the rule of law does not always apply, owing to different principles underlying western and traditional Siamese law and the emergence of a distinctively Thai legal culture and consciousness.

Thailand's governance was re-cast ambitiously in the 1890s, 1932 and 1997. Since 1997, governing Thailand and developing Thailand's economy have become harder. So political disputes have become more acute and the absence of a national consensus on dispute settlement mechanisms more obvious. Until governance is again re-cast, Thailand's political instability and cycle of coups will continue.
By:   James Wise
Imprint:   Marshall Cavendish
Country of Publication:   Singapore
Dimensions:   Height: 227mm,  Width: 152mm, 
ISBN:   9789814841542
ISBN 10:   9814841544
Pages:   312
Publication Date:   01 July 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

James Wise was Australia's Ambassador to Thailand from 2010 to 2014. He also worked in Thailand from 1995 to 1998, when he was Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy. He is now an independent consultant providing assessments and presentations on trends in the political economy of Thailand. James was an Australian diplomat for over 30 years. In addition to two postings to Thailand, he was High Commissioner to Malaysia (2003-2007) and had earlier postings to the Soviet Union (1987-1991) and Papua New Guinea (1983-1985).

Reviews for Thailand: History, Politics and the Rule of Law

An insightful analysis of Thai political history which views the complexities of modern Thailand from both a western and a Thai perspective.--Dr Robert Copper, author of CultureShock Thailand Judged in terms of its overall purpose of providing an introduction to Thai politics for the general reader, this book is an undoubted success ... Thai specialists, meanwhile, will find many of Wise's observations insightful and thought-provoking. Recent incidents of protest and counter-protest indicate that Thailand's long-standing political conflict is no nearer to resolution; as such, this book is both timely and likely to remain relevant for the foreseeable future--James Warren, Journal of the Siam Society Ultimately, Wise argues that there are two legitimacies among Thais today. The traditional legitimacy sees Thailand as existing within a karma-based, palace-centric moral hierarchy. Meanwhile the modern legitimacy views elections as sacrosanct and sovereignty deriving from the people ... It is outstanding and certainly deserves attention from readers interested in how Thailand's past has influenced its present and possible future--Paul Chambers, Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia The way in which Wise has harvested and synthesised insights from across the breadth of Thai studies is one of the great strengths of this book, and perhaps what makes it a particularly useful book for those new to trying to understand Thailand--Greg Raymond, New Mandala

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