The portion of the Malay Peninsula where the Thai Buddhist civilization of Thailand gives way to the Malay Muslim civilization of Malaysia is characterized by multiple forms of pluralism. An appreciation of the long history and varied forms of that pluralism opens up fresh and important perspectives on the violent crisis currently affecting southern Thailand.
Thai South and Malay North brings together research by academic specialists working on this border zone who examine a broad range of issues relating to the turmoil afflicting the region. Drawing on a broad historical perspective, the authors explore religious observances and national identity, the relationship between electoral democracy and separatist violence, and interactions between northern Malaysia and southern Thailand.
Intellectually rigorous and theoretically sophisticated, Thai South and Malay North is the most comprehensive work to date on a part of Southeast Asia whose historical, linguistic, and political complexity has long defied scholarly synthesis—essential reading for anyone seeking to understand southern Thailand 's complex past and troubled present.
"Studies of the Tai world often treat "state" and "community" as polar opposites: the state produces administrative uniformity and commercialization while community sustains tradition, local knowledge, and subsistence economy. This assumption leads to the conclusion that the traditional community is undermined by the modern forces of state incorporation and market penetration. States rule and communities resist." "Tai Lands and Thailand takes a very different view. Using thematic and ethnographic studies from Thailand, Laos, Burma, and southern China, the authors describe modern forms of community where state power intersects with markets, livelihoods, and aspirations. Modern community is not easily created nor is it inevitable, but rapid social and economic change in the Tai world has provided many opportunities for new forms of communal belonging to emerge." "Tai Lands and Thailand opens up fresh perspectives on a region in transition, and the discussion promises to inform future studies of contemporary sociality in Southeast Asia."--BOOK JACKET.