Conspiracy, Politics, and a Disorderly Border: The Struggle to Comprehend Insurgency in Thailand's Deep South

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About the Publication

This study examines a number of themes underlying the struggle to identify the character and causes of the violence engulfing southern Thailand's border provinces since 2004. It begins by outlining key representations of the southern problem in Thailand. Then, drawing on little-used Thai-language documentation, and on interviews and field study, this monograph focuses on three topics.
           First, it addresses the prominence of a number of conspiracy theories claiming that killings and bombings have been engineered, in whole or in part, by vested interest groups rather than by ideologically inspired separatists. Conspiratorial models are a dominant feature of explanations of conflict in Thailand. I argue that the circulation of conspiracy speculation brings into relief the tangible reality of the labyrinthine and disorderly borderland, which is a major problem requiring attention that was long deferred by former governments.
           Second, the monograph focuses on some problematic arguments claiming that Thaksin Shinawatra's dissolution of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center in 2002 paved the way for the current insurgency, and holds that the SBPAC and previous governments failed in the previous decade to detect an emerging new network-based militancy.
           Third, it discusses the political uses of the southern crisis by the opposition Democrat Party, which was able to preserve its electoral base in the south by demonizing Thaksin as the key cause of the turbulence.
           The study argues that representations of the southern crisis have been inherently political, and that the major reality needing attention is the complexity and vulnerability of a disorderly, contested, and neglected borderland.

Co-publication: East-West Center

Policy Studies series publication on Southeast Asia, co-published by the East-West Center and ISEAS. Available exclusively from ISEAS for distribution in Asia.


PDF e-book files for this publication are available as detailed below.

Conspiracy, Politics, and a Disorderly Border: The Struggle to Comprehend Insurgency in Thailand's Deep South 9.00 USD
Preliminary Pages
Contested Truths: The Culprits and Causes of Thailand's Southern "Turbulence"
The Disorderly Border and the Plausibility of Conspiracy
Red Herring or Precondition for Insurgency? The Disbanding of the SBPAC/CPM 43
The Southern Crisis as Political Capital: The Democrat Party Assault on Thaksin and the Thai Rak Thai Party
Project Information: Internal Conflicts and State-Building Challenges in Asia
Policy Studies: List of Reviewers 200607
Policy Studies: Previous Publications

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