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Heritage and Identity in Contemporary Thailand: Memory, Place and Power

Explores Thai culture, its heritage and identities in terms of memory, place, unequal power, and tourism. Emphasizes on 2 major arguments: firstly, heritage is an intersection of memory and power through the medium of monuments and memorial sites that mostly relate to monarchy and nation; secondly, heritage, national identity and tourism industry are dependent on uneven development of memorial environments. Includes elite heritage of ancient Chiang Saen kingdoms, 3 palaces in Phetchaburi, local tales of love and death embedded in many Thai tourist spots. Analyzes gender issue, Japanese colonialism, and a heritage of indigenous lifestyle in Photharam. Explicates social inequality hidden in the heritage, such as pro-poor tourism of Ban Pa-Ao, living conditions around Khlongs’ or canals’ communities, slum rehabilitation in central Bangkok, declining of craft communities, cultural migration of the Phutai to Dien Bien Phu in modern Vietnam, and Lao communities in Thailand.