Don F. SelbyNov 9, 2021
Human Rights in Thailand
University of Pennsylvania Press 2018
Don F. Selby’s Human Rights in Thailand (U Pennsylvania Press, 2018) is a rich anthropological study of the emergence of human rights in Thailand at a national scale following the adoption of the 1997 “People’s Constitution” and establishment of the Human Rights Commission of Thailand. The book argues that what gave emergent human rights in Thailand their shape, force, and trajectories are the ways that advocates engaged, contested, or reworked debates around Buddhism in its relationship to rule and social structure; political struggle in relation to a narrative of Thai democracy that disavowed egalitarian movements; and traditional standards of social stratification and face-saving practices. In this way, human rights ideals in Thailand emerge less from global-local translation and more as a matter of negotiation within everyday forms of sociality, morality, and politics.
Nicholas Bequelin is a human rights professional with a PhD in history and a scholarly bend. He has worked about 20 years for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, most recently as Regional director for Asia.