Imagining Democracy: Reading "The Events of May" in Thailand
"Callahan's is a book I would recommend, especially for graduate students. He demonstrates the benefits that come from new ways of looking at seemingly familiar events" (Pacific Affairs).
About the publication
This book is a collection of stories about the events of May 1992, which were told as part of a wide discussion and debate about "democracy" in Thailand. It was not written as a search for the essential truth about the May massacre as to see how these discourses shape our understanding of the workings of politics -- and thus produce truths about Thai politics. The author argues that much of the meaning of the stories comes not from the facts themselves, but from the discursive economies of the text, how the text was produced and exchanged as a social activity. This narrative approach to Thai politics is timely because the events of May 1992 were the first popular movement to follow the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which in turn constituted a crisis for social science that relied so heavily on the bipolar methodology that attended the bipolar world-view of the Cold War.