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Brown AJ. Labour, Politics and the State in Industrializing Thailand. 2004.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/825
Labour, Politics and the State in Industrializing Thailand
Labour has not figured prominently in the scholarship concerned with the political consequences of Thailand's transformation through capitalist industrialization. For much of the twentieth century, absolute monarchs, and later military leaders and civilian officials, presiding over a state that was insulated from extra-bureaucratic interests, figured in the academic literature as the principal shapers of historical and political changes (Wilson 1962; Riggs 1966). In these elite-focused analyses, industrial workers and their struggles were deemed largely irrelevant and often simply ignored.Over the last two or three decades, however, alongside industrial expansion, the development of a more complex division of labour and pluralistic social structure, it has been the bourgeoisie and the middle class that have attracted the attention of political commentators. It is argued that the domination of the state machinery and policy processes by small coteries of civilian and military bureaucrats has now passed into history. A vibrant civil society comprised of diverse social interests, led by representatives of the aforementioned classes, has emerged and demonstrated an intention to bring the bureaucratic state to heel and force it to take account of popular aspirations for a more open and participatory political system.