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Title: The King and Banharn: Towards an elaboration of network monarchy in Thailand
Authors: Nishizaki, Y. 
Keywords: Banharn Silpaarcha
King Bhumibol
Network monarchy
Issue Date: Mar-2013
Citation: Nishizaki, Y. (2013-03). The King and Banharn: Towards an elaboration of network monarchy in Thailand. South East Asia Research 21 (1) : 69-103. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Duncan McCargo's influential model of 'network monarchy' enables us to understand how King Bhumibol Adulyadej has mobilized his nationwide patronage network to shape contemporary Thai politics. This model, however, focuses mainly on the conflicts between reform-minded virtuous leaders (represented by Bhumibol) and unprincipled, self-serving politicians, and pays insufficient empirical attention to the porous boundaries between the two. The author makes up for this weakness by unravelling the historical process through which Bhumibol has developed a symbiotic, if ambiguous, relationship with Banharn Silpa-archa, regarded as the epitome of unscrupulous rural-based politicians. The author shows that the two have used each other for their respective political purposes. In an effort to protect and advance his personal and dynastic interests, Bhumibol has found it necessary and expedient to rely on Banharn as a valuable political ally. Banharn, for his part, has relied on the king and his proxies to legitimate and consolidate his authority at the local level. By casting light on this interdependence between the two seemingly contrasting types of leader, the paper contributes to a further elaboration of McCargo's model and, more generally, to a deeper understanding of the complexity of Thailand's patronage politics.
Source Title: South East Asia Research
ISSN: 0967828X
DOI: 10.5367/sear.2013.0140
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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