I joined the JETRO Institute of Developing Economies in 1991 and have conducted regional studies on Thailand’s social and political issues. My interest in the bureaucratic polity, a network that supports Thailand’s authoritarian regime under military and bureaucratic leadership, has led me to pursue two research themes related to its maintenance and transformation. One theme involved the creation of an urban middle class that pressures the bureaucratic polity to change, expansion of environmental movements, and decentralization of power. For this theme, I emphasized empirical studies based on quantitative surveys and conducted analyses based on a 1994 survey of Thailand’s environmental awareness and a survey of regional elites in Southeast Asia (a 2013/14 KAKENHI project). The other theme concerns the process of creating a bureaucratic polity and the path dependency of the system. I am deeply interested in problems of bureaucratic control and administrative segmentation that manifest in environmental policies as well as the historical process of creating and reorganizing the bureaucratic polity.
Current research projects
My present research focuses on the process by which the bureaucratic network was created after the constitutional revolution of 1932, which then became the basis of Thailand’s bureaucratic polity. I am analyzing how Thai bureaucrats and politicians as well as emerging Chinese businesses took advantage of the constitutional revolution and built a network for economic policy formulation and created a system that would continuously implement policies even in the face of political instability caused by a rebellion or in the absence of the parliament. At the same time, I am conducting a comparative study to apply Western social theory on globalization and spatial reorganization (rescaling of the state) to the cases of Southeast Asian countries.
＜Middle Class Issues＞
- Tsuruyo FUNATSU and Kazuhiro KAGOYA. （2003） “The Middle Classes in Thailand: The Rise of the Urban Intellectual Elite and Their Social Consciousness.” The Developing Economies, Vol. 41(2): 243-263.
＜Political and Aministrative Reforms in Thailand＞
Thailand in Motion: Political and Administrative Changes, 1991-2006.(Tai Seiji Gyosei no Henkaku: 1991-2006, in Japanese) Institute of Developing Economies.
- Tsuruyo FUNATSU（2008）"Nation and Education――The Educational Reform in Thailand and the 'Civil Society' " in Chiharu TAKENAKA, Nobuo TAKAHASHI and Nobuto YAMAMOTO (eds.) Civil Society, Keio University Press.
＜Local Governance in Southeast Asia＞
- Tsuruyo FUNATSU (2020)“Local self-government under the NCPO military rule in Thailand- Rural Decentralization at the crossroads and subordination of local government”in M.AOKI (ed.) General Election in Thailand: Summarizing the military regime and the prospects for the new administration, IDE-JETRO.[in Japanese]
- Tadayoshi TERAO and Tsuruyo FUNATSU. (2021) Origins and Evolution of Environmental Policies：State, Time and Regional Experiences. Edward and Elgar.
- Tsuruyo FUNATSU (ed.) （2008）Preliminary Results: The Survey of Local Administrative Organizations in Thailand (Report on the Research Project "The Central- Local Relationship in Thailand,” Institute of Developing Economies.
- Tsuruyo FUNATSU (2005) Book Review, "Regional Develpment in Northeast Thailand and the Formation of Thai Civil Society," International Journal of Japanese Sociology, No.14-2005.
＜Formation of the Thai Bureaucratic Polity＞
- Tsuruyo FUNATSU（2002）”Nationalism Discourse and the Sino-Thai Chinese in Thailand," in Mitsuo OGURA and Hirokatsu KANO (eds.) The "Third World" and International Sociology, Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.