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Development and Institutionalization of Communitarian Thought in Thailand

Discussion Papers

No.423

by SHIGETOMI Shinichi
July 2013

ABSTRACT

In Thailand, communitarian ideas have been widely accepted and even institutionalized as a principle of national development plans and the Constitution of Thailand. This paper examines how and why the communitarian body of thought, described as "community culture thought," and originally created and shared within a small circle of social activists and academics in the early 1980s, came to be disseminated and authorized in Thai society. Contributors and participants, ways of expression, and avenues for disseminating this paradigm are the main topics in this paper. The paper reveals that these thoughts and concepts have been diversified and used as guiding principles by state elites, anti-state activists, and social reformists since the late 1980s. These people with such different political ideologies were connected through some key individuals. These critical connections networked them onto the same side for promoting communitarian thought in Thailand. When such leading advocates assumed key political positions, it was easy for them to push communitarian ideas into the guidelines and principles of state administration.



Keywords: social movements, communitarianism, Thailand

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