16:00-17:00 Prof. Decha Tangseefa (Associate Professor of Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University) “Past, Present, Danger”
17:00-18:00 Prof. Kasem Phenpinant (Dean of the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkom University) “Deflective Democracy: Thailand after Election”
Prof. Decha Tangseefa “Past, Present, Danger”
Ten years ago, the English version of my research on violence in Thailand’s deep south was published, entitled “Reading ‘Bureaucrat Manuals,’ Writing Cultural Space: The Thai State’s Cultural Discourses & the Thai-Malay In-between Spaces.” The article’s last paragraph invokes Walter Benjamin’s conception of history. Ten years after, picking up on where I left off in that publication, my Thai article – entitled “Past Present Danger” – elaborates on some key strands of Benjamin’s theoretico-philosophical concerns. It aims to present an alternative method for contemplating on violence in political society, especially that which relates to marginal people. Based on this latest article, this talk’s narrative is fourfold. The first three parts will discuss a series of interrelated problematiques by beginning with the intertwining relations of history, time, and the marginal. The second and the third articulate two sets of problematiques in Benjamin’s oeuvre. They are historiography, danger, and “the oppressed,” on the one hand, and cairo-logic, the “now-time,” and the Copernican revolution, on the other. The talk will end with a reflexive remark on what I name “death of the marginal?”
Prof. Kasem Phenpinant “Deflective Democracy: Thailand after Election”
Since the Thai junta leader returned to power as the prime minister after the general election, the current political situation has been entering a new crisis of democracy, along with the junta masquerading as a legitimate regime. Rather than ensuring stability, Thai politics confronts a new struggle over power, involving parliament, coalition government, and even military intervention. It entails a form of deflective democracy, that is, a regime of political power diminishes the functioning of democratic principles and institutions designed to guarantee democratic values. Deflective democracy occurs, when non-elected elites gain power over the elected representatives. It tends to form a parallel between authoritarian government and democratic decay.