Download Nation Building: Five Southeast Asian Histories by Wang Gungwu PDF

By Wang Gungwu

The booklet addresses questions akin to: how should still historians deal with the sooner pasts of every nation and the nationalism that guided the nation-building projects? the place did political tradition are available in, in particular while facing smooth demanding situations of sophistication, secularism and ethnicity? What half do exterior or local pressures play while the international locations are nonetheless being outfitted? The authors have idea deeply concerning the problems with writing nation-building histories and feature attempted to place them not just within the viewpoint of Southeast Asian advancements of the previous 5 many years, but additionally the bigger parts of historiography this day.

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The Hinge Between Nation and State The world is now divided up into nation-states, a crazy quilt of countries that every schoolchild learns from coloured maps on classroom walls and globes of the world. What we sometimes forget is that the nation-state is a hyphenated form, a hybrid creature in which two very different entities reside on either side of the hyphen: the nation and the state. The state has structure and hierarchy. It commands and controls the defence forces as well as the police who maintain public order and enforce the law.

Vajiravudh has been credited by every historian who has written on the subject with “inventing” Thai nationalism, because he refashioned the model for patriotism, “king, god, and country”, which he had learned from his years in England, and Thai-ified it as “nation, religion, and monarch”. In fact, through his writings Vajiravudh also enlarged and invigorated the Thai public sphere, beginning in the early 1910s in response to a restive political environment that was far more complex than the one his father had faced (Barmé 1999, p.

22). Everyman Nation and State: Thailand • 29 — and everywoman — was a soldier. This historical “event”, the defence of Bang Rachan, supplied writers, playwrights and film-makers in the following decades with material that fed a longing for commoner as well as royal heroes. School textbooks of the 1920s and 1930s continued to develop the theme, as did plays and short stories (Sunait 1995, p. 26). What purpose was served by circulating this image of the Burmese as an enemy of the Thai nation at a time when Burma had been humbled by British imperialism and was no longer a credible military threat?

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