Jacob Ricks

Apr 28, 2022

The Politics of Ethnic Integration in Thailand

New Books Network 2022

Following the 2014 coup in Thailand, in which the Thai military overthrew the caretaker government after 6 months of political crisis, major media outlets suggested that the coup could lead to ethnic tensions—and potentially civil war—between the Isan people of northeastern Thailand and the central Thai government. While this civil war never eventuated, there were genuine tensions between the Isan people and the Thai state.

In this episode, Dr Natali Pearson is joined by Associate Professor Jacob Ricks, to discuss why these tensions never escalated into full blown conflict as predicted. Is this a sign that Thailand’s centuries-long effort to integrate diverse ethnic identities has been a success, and what cautionary tales might apply?

About Jacob Ricks:

Jacob Ricks is Associate Professor of Political Science in the School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University. He researches development topics as well as nationalism and ethnicity in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Thailand and Indonesia. Recently he has been studying the identity of the Isan people of Northeastern Thailand. He is co-author of the book Ethnicity and Politics in Southeast Asia with Amy Liu. His research has also been published in journals like World Development, Political Behavior, Pacific Affairs, and Journal of Contemporary Asia, among others.

For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.

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Natali Pearson

Dr Natali Pearson is Curriculum Coordinator at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on the protection, management and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.
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