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Type: Journal article
Title: Remembrance and tragedy: understanding Thailand's "Red Shirt" social movement
Author: Taylor, J.
Citation: Sojourn, 2012; 27(1):120-152
Publisher: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 0217-9520
Statement of
Jim Taylor
Abstract: This is a reflection on the “Red Shirt” social movement in Thailand based on ethnographic research conducted in 2007–11. Under its umbrella organization, the National United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, the social movement generated a momentum never before seen in Thailand following the consequences of the 19 September 2006 coup d’état. The resistance and mass calls for democratic change came from the periphery, not the centre as in previous modern protests staged in the metropolis. At an ideological level, the movement is differentiated but united in its understanding of the conditions of modern history and the complexity of centre-summit dominance. Red Shirts have been engaged in an ongoing struggle against a social and political adversary with the overall objective, yet to be achieved, of bringing about broad democratic institutional changes at all levels. Taking to the barricades in April–May 2010, which led to the killing of many protestors, was a last resort for the masses frustrated by the distortion of history and obstruction of societal changes under the self-serving interests of the ruling royalists. How will this tragedy of recent times be narrated in standard histories is debatable, as a memory of the past, conscious or unconscious, is conditioned by the experience of the present. But at specific sites of memory (lieux de mémoire), there will be continuing conversations and, undoubtedy, little forgetting among the masses.
Keywords: Red shirts; Thailand; memory; protest; summit
Rights: Copyright © 2012 ISEAS
RMID: 0020118362
DOI: 10.1355/sj27-1d
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Appears in Collections:Anthropology & Development Studies publications

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