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Thailand Studies Programme


Latest Announcements



ISEAS Visiting Senior Fellow, Dr Puangthong R Pawakapan, will be conducting the ISEAS Seminar "Thailand: The Return of Bureaucratic Polity".

Date: Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Venue: Seminar Room II, ISEAS

About the seminar: After six months of public protests and demonstrations, the Royal Thai Armed Forces, led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, launched a coup d'etat against the caretaker government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on 22 May 2014. This was the 12th coup since 1932. The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) was established to govern the nation. Exactly two months later, on 22 July, an interim constitution was unveiled, promising to bring reform and genuine democracy to Thai society. On 21 August, General Prayuth became Thailand's 29th Prime Minister.

This public seminar features a panel of three distinguished Thai scholars who will discuss the implications of the coup and the direction of the new government.

Click here for more information.



Thailand Studies Programme co-coordinator, Dr Micahel Montesano, was recently featured in an episode of Channel NewsAsia's "Between the Lines", entitled "Thai Style Democracy".

View the programme episode by Channel NewsAsia at this link.



The latest ISEAS Perspective issue "The Thai Junta's Interim Constitution: Towards an Anti-Electoral Democracy", written by ISEAS Senior Fellow Dr Puangthong Pawakapan, is now available for download here.

An Abstract

On 22 July 2014, two months after a military coup d’etat, the Thai military promulgated an interim constitution signed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. With sweeping powers in the hand of General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the leader of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the interim constitution’s preamble promises to eradicate corruption and bring “reform” and subsequently “genuine democracy” to Thai society. The interim constitution itself may be perceived to be opposed to populist politicians and electoral politics, something that also provoked the military coup in 2006. While that coup failed to eliminate the Thaksinite faction from Thai politics once and for all, the NCPO promises its mostly urban middle-class supporters that it would put an end to corrupt politics in all forms. However, with a narrow focus on the corruption of politicians, the question remains whether the interim charter is able to bring genuine democracy, stability, and “happiness” to the deeply polarized Thai society.

Past ISEAS Perspective issues on Thailand and the region are also accessible here.



Dr Tanet Charoenmuang, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Chiang Mai University, is spending six months at ISEAS, starting 11 August 2014.



Dr Porphant Ouyyanont, Associate Professor, School of Economics, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, is spending six months at ISEAS, starting 4 August 2014.



Dr Puangthong R. Pawakapan, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, is spending six months at ISEAS on an ISEAS Thailand Programme fellowship, starting 16 July 2014.



ISEAS Publishing has just released “Good Coup” Gone Bad: Thailand's Political Development since Thaksin's Downfall, edited by Pavin Chachavalpongpun. 

Containing contributions from Federico Ferrara, James Ockey, Thongchai Winichkul, David Streckfuss, Michael Nelson, Nick Nostitz, Andrew Walker, Mark Askew and Pavin himself, this volume offers a timely and comprehensive survey of the actors, institutions and forces that shaped Thailand’s political environment during the years of tension and stalemate that followed military intervention in the country’s politics during 2006-2007. It provides indispensable background on the 22 May 2014 putsch in Bangkok and on the motivations of the junta that took power on that day.

“Good Coup” Gone Bad: Thailand's Political Development since Thaksin's Downfall is available through the ISEAS Publishing bookshop.


About the Thailand Studies Programme

The Thailand Studies Programme at ISEAS promotes analysis of and scholarship on contemporary Thailand. Its goal is to develop understanding of the country among the full range of parties concerned with its mid-term and long-term future: governments, the media, journalists, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and scholars.

The foci of the programme are three-fold — on political dynamics, social change, and cultural trends.  In its attention to politics, the concerns of the programme include party and electoral politics, Thailand’s place in regional politics and geopolitics, regionalism and decentralization, the state of Thai institutions, constitutionalism and royalism, and the impact of politics on economic competitiveness and the investment climate. Social issues that fall within the programme’s purview are migration and demographic change, religion, ethnicity, the Thai education system, the relationship between urban and rural Thailand, the middle classes, and sectorial industries like tourism. In the area of cultural trends, the arts and literature, the media and mass consumption patterns number among topics of interest.

The programme seeks to build institutional links to scholars, analysts and centres involved in the study of modern Thailand, not least those in Thailand itself. 


Programme Coordinators

The co-coordinators of the Thailand Studies Programme are Michael Montesano (michaelmontesano@iseas.edu.sg) and Terence Chong (terencechong@iseas.edu.sg). Please contact the co-coordinators for further information on the Thailand Studies Programme.


Past Thai Affiliates

ISEAS has a long history of hosting scholars from Thailand.  Among those previously affiliated with the Institute are the following:

Aekapol Chongvilaivan    Pasuk Phongpaichit Sunya Sunyavivat
Anek Laothamatas Pavin Chachavalpongpun Surichai Wun'Gaeo
Chaiwat Satha-Anand Phiphat Tangsubkul Surin Maisrikrod
Charnvit Kasetsiri Pranee Chitkornkijsil Suthiphand Chiravithvat
Khien Theeravit Prudhisan Jumbala Thamsook Numnonda
Kusuma Snitwongse Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Thitinan Pongsudhirak
Medhi Krongkaew Suchit Bunbongkarn  
Narongchai Akrasanee Sukhumbhand Paribatra  


Thailand Forum, 2015

The Thailand Studies Programme will host a Thailand Forum conference in Singapore in mid-2015. This conference will convene a small number of scholars and other analysts from Thailand and elsewhere to present research on political dynamics, social change and cultural trends in Thailand.  It will result in the publication of an edited volume.  Please consult this site for further details on the planned Thailand Forum.



ISEAS has published research and analysis on Thailand in wide range of formats. Each edition of the bimonthly ISEAS Monitor and the annual Southeast Asian Affairs  covers Thailand. Scholarship and research on Thailand regularly appears in the ISEAS journals Contemporary Southeast AsiaThe Journal of Southeast Asian Economies and SOJOURN: Social Issues in Southeast Asia.


ISEAS Perspective titles on Thailand include the following.

Cassey Lee, "Whither Thailand's Juntanomics?" (8 July 2014)

Su-Ann Oh, “Burmese Refugees in Thailand — Should they stay or should they go?” (24 March 2014)

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, “Japan Pursues a ‘Thailand-Plus-One’ Strategy” (13 March 2014)

Michael J. Montesano, “What is to come in Thailand?” (10 February 2014)

Puangthong Pawakapan, “Can the ICJ ruling end the dispute between Thailandand Cambodia?” (26 September 2013)

John Lee, “China’s Economic Influence in Thailand: Perception or Reality?” (11 July 2013)

Michael J. Montesano, “The Struggle to Amend Thailand’s Constitution” (1 July 2013)

Kornphanat Tungkeunkunt, “China’s Soft Power in Thailand” (3 Jun 2013)

Su-Ann Oh, “Rohingya Boat Arrivals in Thailand: From the frying paninto the fire?” (4 March 2013)


The Trends in Southeast Asia series includes John Lee, China’s Engagement with Southeast Asia: Thailand (2013).


ISEAS Publications has also published a wide range of influential monographs and edited volumes on Thailand. These include the following titles.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, ed., "Good Coup" Gone Bad: Thailand's Political Development since Thaksin's Downfall (2014)

Puangthong R. Pawakapan, State and Uncivil Society in Thailand at the Temple of Preah Vihear (2013)

Michael J. Montesano, Pavin Chachavalpongpun, and Aekapol Chongvilaivan, eds., Bangkok, May 2010: Perspectives on a Divided Thailand (2012)

Aekapol Chongvilaivan, Harnessing Production Networks: Impacts and Policy Implications from Thailand's Manufacturing Industries (2011)

Patarapong Intarakumnerd and Yveline Lecler, eds., Sustainability of Thailand's Competitiveness: The Policy Challenges (2010)

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Reinventing Thailand: Thaksin and His Foreign Policy (2010)

John Funston, ed., Divided Over Thaksin: Thailand's Coup and Problematic Transition (2009, co-published with Silkworm Books)

Joseph Chinyong Liow, Islam, Education and Reform in Southern Thailand: Tradition and Transformation (2009)

Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker, Thai Capital after the 1997 Crisis (2008)

Sakulrat Montreevat, ed., Corporate Governance in Thailand (2005)

Duncan McCargo, ed., Reforming Thai Politics (2002, co-published with NIAS Press)

Ruth McVey, ed., Money and Power in Provincial Thailand (2001, co-published with Silkworm Books and NIAS Press)

Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker, Thailand’s Crisis (2000, co-published with Silkworm Books)

Jonathan Rigg, ed., Counting the Costs: Economic Growth and Environmental Change in Thailand (2000)

William A. Callahan, Imagining Democracy: Reading "The Events of May" in Thailand (1998)

Jim Taylor, Forest Monks and the Nation-State: An Anthropological and Historical Study in Northeastern Thailand (1993)

Scot Barmé, Luang Wichit Wathakan and the Creation of a Thai Identity (1993)

Peter A. Jackson, Buddhism, Legitimation, and Conflict: The Political Functions of Urban Thai Buddhism in the 19th and 20th Centuries (1989)

Suchit Bunbongkarn, The Military in Thai Politics 1981-86 (1987)

Somboon Suksamran, Military Elite in Thai Politics: Brief Biographical Data on the Officers in the Thai Legislature (1984)

Hong Lysa, Thailand in the Nineteenth Century: Evolution of the Economy and Society (1984)

Chai-Anan Samudavanija, The Thai Young Turks (1982)

Somboon Suksamran, Buddhism and Politics in Thailand (1982)