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Class, Status and Party: Thailand's Political Tumult
07 May 2012 (Monday)


Seminar room, Postgraduate Building, 3rd Floor,
Faculty of Economics and Administration,
University of Malaya

Professor Dr Kevin Hewison


Thailand has been through a turbulent decade and a half since the economic crisis of 1997. Does this period of political conflict point to something more significant than the usual cycle of crisis and limited or minimal reform? The past 15 years of Thailand’s economic crisis and change, military coup, and deep political division appear to have brought the society to a “critical juncture” - a period of fundamental political crisis or change set countries on distinct political trajectories. In this paper I draw on Max Weber's famous essay on “Class, Status, Party” to assess significant social and political cleavages that have emerged in Thailand. I also draw on Marxist approaches where Weber’s discussion of status and class has shortcomings.


Kevin Hewison is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (an Ivy League University) and is currently Visiting Professor of Asian Studies at the Singapore Management University. He completed his Ph.D. at Murdoch University. He has held academic posts at Murdoch University, the Australian National University, the University of Papua New Guinea, the University of New England and the City University of Hong Kong. He established City University’s Southeast Asia Research Centre and has been Director of the Carolina Asia Center since 2005. He is also the co-editor of the Journal of Contemporary Asia (which is a tier 1 ISI journal in the field of social sciences), and is also in the editorial board of several politics journals (including the Pacific Review, which is also a tier-1 ISI journal). The speaker has authored more than 175 publications on Thailand, Southeast Asia, labour issues, democratization and globalization.