Manners in Thailand's Social and Political Transformation, 1880-1980

June 2018December 2021
ARC Discovery Project

Patrick Jory Discovery Grant Manners in Thailand's Social and Political Transformation, 1880-1980 (2018–2021) ARC Discovery Projects

At a time of growing resistance to globalisation, a backlash against migration, a breakdown of political civility, and questions about the fabric of our democracies, studying approaches to how societies have, through the construction of norms, been held together or socially controlled has assumed new salience. Using Thailand as a case study this project will produce the first comprehensive history of the bodily practices, modes of speech, and mental discipline known as Thai manners. It examines the vast literature on manners produced over the last century which has never been systematically studied by Western or Thai scholars. The project seeks to make a contribution to our understanding of the Asian societies in our immediate region by presenting a new understanding of the complex nature of rules of social behaviour in an economically and strategically key mid-level Asian country, Thailand. It will also deepen our understanding of the debilitating political crisis that has wracked that country since 2005, at a time of growing geopolitical uncertainty in the East Asian region.