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Polarization and the De-Thaksification of Thai Politics

Podcast of a colloquium with Prof. Allen Hicken, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan

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Duration: 54:39

The last few years have been turbulent ones for Thailand. In a bit more than four years Thailand has had 5 elections or national referenda, 3 constitutions, 4 party dissolutions, and 6 separate heads of government. At the same time violence in the South continues unabated and social conflict along class and geographic lines has increased dramatically. Thailand's politics, once defined by a pragmatic (though not programatic) style, appears to have undergone a polarizing transformation. This talk will attempt to put the events of the last few years in a broader political and institutional context by focusing on the attempts of various political elite to engineer (or re-engineer) Thai democracy over the past twelve years and the consequences (both intended and unintended) of those attempts.

About the Speaker

Allen Hicken is an Associate Professor of Political Science, Research Associate Professor at the Center for Political Studies, and Associate Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Michigan. He studies political parties and policy making in developing countries, with a focus on Southeast Asia generally and Thailand and the Philippines specifically. He has carried out research in Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Cambodia. He is the author of a book by Cambridge University Press on parties and elections in Thailand and the Philippines, entitled, Building Party Systems in Developing Democracies. His articles have appeared in American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Journal of East Asian Studies, Asian Survey, Comparative Political Studies and Electoral Studies.

Center for Southeast Asian Studies