Problems with Beauty and Order: Bangkok and the Dilemmas of Crypto-Colonialism
- Wednesday 17 May 2017
- Academy Building
2311 GJ Leiden
- Klein Auditorium
The concept of order has a strong role in most authoritarian regimes, especially those whose inspiration comes from 19th-century European sources. “Crypto-colonial” Thailand is no exception. Deploying models of order, decency, and urban “beauty,” both the present authorities and their immediate predecessors, who in this regard display alarming similarities, have attempted to gain control of urban space in ways that recall Western models from Haussmanian Paris to Athens under the colonels. Controlling architecture and the uses of public space as a symbolic mode of social control, they have consistently displayed a deep dependency on Western models caused, to a large extent, by the ironic but logical consequences of the country’s claim to having never been colonized.