After the Cold War, Thailand became a poster child of democratizing processes in Southeast Asia. Student protests, farmers’ activism, a thriving civil society, and an expanding middle class suggested a model of successful democratic transition. In the last decades, however, many of the forces that supported that process turned sour on electoral politics. Dr. Sopranzetti’s book will explore how that happened—new class alliances, discourses of corruption and morality, questions of law. In this context, he will portray Thailand as an experimental space for a new model of authoritarianism, inspired by Beijing and now spreading throughout the region. The book, Owners of the Maps: Motorcycle Taxi Drivers, Mobility, and Politics in Bangkok, will be available for sale at the talk.
Claudio Sopranzetti is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at All Souls College at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Owners of the Maps: Motorcycle Taxi Drivers, Mobility, and Politics in Bangkok and he is currently working on Awakened, an anthropological graphic novel on Thai politics.