The Thai monarchy today is usually presented as both guardian of tradition and the institution to bring modernity and progress to the Thai people. It is moreover seen as protector of the nation.
Scrutinizing that image, Danish researchers Søren Ivarsson and Lotte Isager reviews the fascinating history of the modern monarchy. It also analyses important cultural, historical, political, religious, and legal forces shaping the popular image of the institution.
The title on the book “Saying the Unsayable” refers to the fact that in Thailand there is severe punishment to express criticism of the royal family. Among the points discussed is that the monarchy is very different than protecting democracy – on the contrary, the law of lése majesté misused to persecute political opponents.
The book offers valuable insights into the relationships between monarchy, religion and democracy in Thailand – topics that, after the September 2006 coup d’état, gained renewed national and international interest. By addressing such contentious issues as Thai-style democracy, lése majesté legislation, religious symbolism and politics, monarchical traditions, and the royal sufficiency economy, this volume will be of interest to a broad spectrum of academics, journalists and other interested readers outside academia.