Thailand: Student Activism and Political Change















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D. K. Book House



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This book should be of special interest to those interested in student oriented social movements in particular and Thai politics and culture in general. It is advised that the novice to behavioral research who may find Chapter VI overly tedious, should perhaps skip over the data analysis and read only the summary statement at the end of the chapter to enjoy the full continuity of the book. However, it is hoped that the avid behavioralist will scrutinize the techniques employed inChapter VI. Overall, the book attempts to give the reader some insights into the past, present, and future role of student activism in the politics of Thailand. Particular emphasis is placed on the cultural determinants of Thai political behavior and the eventual effect of the student revolt of October 1973 on Thai politics in the future. Chapter I introduces and discusses the primary concepts and hypothesis regarding student activists and their role in the politics of developing nations. Also presented in this Chapter is a brief and general inventory of the most frequently encountered assertions in the literature on student politics, with a specific focus on the nature of student protests and the protesters, and factors related to individual student participation in protest activities. In this chapter the role of the university as a major factor in politicizing students is explored in the general context of social movements for political change. This is followed by Chapter II which traces the history and development of higher educational institutions and student activism in Thailand up to the over-throw of the Thanom government in October, 1973. Thereafter, Chapter III gives a detailed account of the "Ten Days in October", which pitted army and police against students and other civilians in some of the bloodiest battles ever to occur in Bangkok. Chapter IV explains from a sociological perspective some cultural aspects of Thai political behavior, and their relationship to student activism. Chapter V builds from the base of the Thai case study and a general review of the literature and available statistics to expand into a comparative analysis of Thailand with seven other politically and culturally diverse countries. Relevant and available statistical data are incorporated in a comparative study of the eight countries across several dimensions of educational and participation characteristics. Data on the Thai students are integrated in the comparative analysis of aggregate and survey data taken from a review of the research and case studies in each of the eight nations (i.e., India, Thailand, U.S.A., West Germany, France, Brazil, Chile, and Japan). The data included measures of the following participation and educational characteristics: domestic conflict (i.e., riots and demonstrations), field of study, enrollment, unemployment, membership in student political action organizations, and participation in demonstrations. Chapter VI tests empirically some of the hypothesis and assumptions presented in the previous chapters. The first section of this chapter test the relationship of background and socialization factors to students' pol itical predispositions and degree of participation. Using a variety of statistical techniques, data on Thai students were "plugged into" the original and alternative simulation models in an attempt to test the validity of the general hypothesis. In the second section of this chapter several hypothesis were tested through a comparative analysis of survey data on Thai and American students collected in 1972. Chapter VII speculates on the future of student activism in Thailand's political development based on a descriptive analysis of past performance of Thai democratic institutions and pol itical trends since October 1973. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Som-pom Sangchai, Professor of Public Administration, who while a senior fellow at the East-West Center graciously reviewed several drafts of this book, and extend a special thanks to Linda Ching, who persevered in typing all drafts of this publication.



College students--Political activity--Thailand, College students--Political activity, Thailand



254 pages


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