Monday, June 30, 2014

Thailand: The Lessons of Protest, A Public Lecture by Dr. Kevin Hewison

Thailand: The Lessons of Protest
A Public Lecture by Dr. Kevin Hewison
14 July 2014 (Monday), 10:00 AM - 12:00 NN
Seminar Room 206-207, GT Toyota Asian Center, 
University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City

Please click here for the playlist of audiovisual recordings of the lecture.

Since late 2004 and until the military coup in May 2014, Thailand has seen almost unending street protests, ranging from various ginger groups protesting against incumbent governments to months-long and highly aggressive anti-government street protests by red shirts and yellow shirts mobilizing hundreds of thousands. While there are many lessons that may be drawn from this decade of often unruly and uncivil political contestation, this paper concentrates on four “lessons” that bear on several assumptions associated with the broad literature on democratic transitions. These are: (i) the political intransigence of a conservative elite unwilling to make necessary political compromises that would accommodate the rise of electoral democracy and subaltern claims for political voice; (ii) the challenges posed to notions that the middle class and civil society have certain “historical roles” as the ballast for successful democratization; (iii) the capacity for so-called independent institutions and agencies, created as checks-and-balances on elected politicians and to enhance human rights in a developing electoral and representative democracy may be politically captured and become the tools of anti-democrats; and (iv) the link between high rates of inequality and political rebellion cannot be assumed but must be examined in terms of political context.

Dr. Kevin Hewison is Sir Walter Murdoch Professor of Politics and International Studies and Director, Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University.


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