The study of social movements in Southeast Asia (as elsewhere) has trouble evaluating contention in formal democracies that are, nevertheless, periodically and often intensely violent. This has been a problem both because of how our theory developed (i.e. the apparatus for examining civil protest was until recently different from that used to evaluate more violent contention) and in terms of the relatively unique historical conjuncture of democratic norms and institutions coexisting with fundamental conflicts, often over first political principles. The last decade of scholarship has done much to eliminate the segregation of protest studies from the study of other modes of contention—most famously in the Dynamics of Contention research program, but also in innovative methodologies inspired from that program designed to capture the contingent nature of mobilization trajectories and contentious forms. These perspectives begin with contentious acts, but leaves the form of their escalation—through subsequent contentious interactions—an open matter. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Thailand
Just over a week ago, tens of thousands of protesters converged in Bangkok to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s first female PM. They overran the streets and occupied government offices in the name of a “people’s revolution.” On December 9th, Yingluck (Thai politicians are referred to by their first names) dissolved parliament, and snap elections have been scheduled for February 2nd. However, the protesters want Yingluck out of office for good, and they continue to demand her removal from politics.
Thailand’s democracy has been weak (at best) since the 1932 coup marking its transition to a constitutional monarchy. Since then, the country has had 17 different constitutions and charters, a series of coups, and 28 prime ministers. That’s a lot of turnover, to say the least. Check out this table listing Thailand’s prime ministers. It’s chaos. Almost every term ends with dissolution, resignation, or removal. Continue reading