Mapping National Anxieties: Thailand's Southern Conflict

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by Duncan McCargo

This latest book by award-winning researcher Duncan McCargo, one of the world's leading specialists on contemporary Thailand, builds on previous projects to elucidate new aspects of the intractable Southern conflict that has claimed more than 4500 lives since 2004. Mapping National Anxieties locates the insurgency in the context of Thailand's wider political conflicts, exploring the ambiguous relationships between the Thai state and organised religion, along with the recent resurgence of Buddhist chauvinism and nationalism.

McCargo examines the way Islamic provincial councils have been drawn into the conflict, and scrutinises the special challenges the conflict has created for Thailand's media. Journalists have struggled to communicate a confusing story to an increasingly indifferent wider public. The book then moves beyond the crisis itself to look at ways forward, starting with the controversial National Reconciliation Commission that was established by the Thaksin Shinawatra government to propose peaceful options for reducing the violence. Another chapter explores how far Malay Muslims in Thailand's southern border provinces think of themselves as 'Thai', arguing that there is an important distinction between legal citizenship and informal understandings of what citizenship means and entails. Finally, McCargo invites readers to 'think the unthinkable' by imagining the possibility of autonomy for Thailand's deep South, and the implications for the country as a whole.

"This second book by McCargo to focus on the southern Thai conflict, shows deep analysis and reflection on the role of religion in the development and maintenance of longstanding violence at both regional and national levels. It complements McCargo’s other monograph devoted to the issue, Tearing apart the land (2008)." - Claudia Merli, Durham University, ASEASUK News (2013)

Duncan McCargo is a leading specialist on the politics of Thailand, his books include the best-selling Thaksinization of Thailand (co-authored), the award-winning Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand, and most recently Fighting for Virtue: Justice and Politics in Thailand.

Publication year: 2011
226 pp / 229mm x 152mm
8 photographs, 6 figures
ISBN: 978-87-7694-086-7, Paperback
ISBN: 978-87-7694-085-0, Hardback

NIAS Press