Thailand’s Generation Z: From Future Forward to Free Youth


About the Webinar

Thai politics have been extremely polarized in recent years: “yellow” (conservative) versus “red” (pro-Thaksin) contestations have divided the country, reflecting deep-rooted regional, class and identity cleavages. But Thailand’s newest cleavage, apparent only since 2018, is a generational divide that cuts across all other categories. Generation Z – Thais under 25 – seem to have a radically different understanding of themselves from older people. Digital natives who grew up online, and access information virtually, are rejecting deference, hierarchy and paternalism. They voted in large numbers for the short-lived Future Forward Party, which became the third largest party in the Thai parliament after the March 2019 elections. Since the dissolution of Future Forward by the Constitutional Court on 21 February 2020, many of these young people have become profoundly alienated from Thailand’s state and society, and have taken to the streets to demand far-reaching reforms. This talk will examine how intra-generational contestation is re-shaping Thailand’s politics.

About the Speaker

Duncan McCargo is Director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. His work focuses on the nature of power, primarily in Southeast Asia, and notably in Thailand. His dozen books include the award-winning Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand (Cornell, 2008), and Fighting for Virtue: Justice and Politics in Thailand (Cornell, 2019). Duncan’s latest book is Future Forward: The Rise and Fall of a Thai Political Party (with Anyarat Chattharakul, NIAS Press, 2020).


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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Nov 17 2020


3:00 pm - 4:00 pm