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Yale Southeast Asia Studies Monograph #69
RAMA X: The Thai Monarchy under King Vajiralongkorn
In the twilight years of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (1946–2016), changes to monarchic power were already set in motion. Having been at the center of political gravity, Bhumibol left a vacuum of power when he died. Vajiralongkorn, enthroned in 2016, filled the vacuum with his desire to further augment the monarchic power despite his lack of moral authority and charisma. This book focuses on Vajiralongkorn’s attempt to strengthen his position of power by employing a different method from the one used by his father, Bhumibol. The pro-monarchy institutions have readjusted their relationship with Vajiralongkorn, primarily for their own interests, hence perpetuating the changing nature of monarchic power. But at the other end of the spectrum, the young generation has reacted daringly to the growing power of Vajiralongkorn by demanding royal reforms, and in the process trespassing against the overly protected realm of the monarchy even in the face of the lèse-majesté law. The Thai monarchy has arrived at a crossroads, and yet has chosen to resist popular will and disregard call for reforms. The future of the monarchy remains dangerously uncertain.
Edited by Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Forward by Tyrell Haberkorn
Contributors: Paul Handley, Federico Ferrara, David Streckfuss, Gregory V. Raymond, Michael Ruffles, Claudio Sopranzetti, Chatri Prakitnonthakan, Pavin Chachavalpongpun
“While monarchical succession in the modern western world has little impact on daily politics, the accession of King Rama X has profoundly affected Thai society in previously unimagined ways. This book boldly undertakes the task of outlining the changes to power structures in the new reign, whether these affect parliamentary politics, peoples’ politics, political rights and freedoms or even cultural politics. Its chapters by outstanding scholars in the field represent a valuable resource to understand not merely the changes to the Thai monarchy, but also the root causes of the political turbulence of the past few decades.“
— Kanokrat Lertchoosakul, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
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Yale Southeast Asia Studies is a non-profit publishing entity at Yale University.