Manusya, Journal of Humanities


Sopha Chanamool

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A discourse on the Thai Nation by progressive intellectuals in Thailand during 1950's-1960's is discussed. During this period they formed a narrative, and a new meaning of "Chat Thai" or Thai nation. The progressive intellectuals, such as Malai Chupinit, Sod Kuramarohit, Assani Ponlachan and Chit Phumisak, debated a new meaning of national identity. They described the Thai Nation differently to the previous elite groups, such as King Rama VI in the 1920's. King Rama VI wrote about the great ancient kingdom of Sukhothai. Luang Wichitwatakan expanded on that to show the greatness of the Thai nation since ancient times, and also that the Thai race was shaped from a pure race and had a unity of Thai culture. Conversely, the progressive intellectuals argued that the Thai nation was not shaped from a pure Thai race, and also that it did not have a unity of Thai culture. According to them the Thai nation was formed from ethnic heterogeneity and cultural diversity. Their ideas about the communities which made up the Thai nation held that Thai people from different regions have their own cultures (their own historical background, their own local languages, their own way of life), which are different to the central Thai culture. Furthermore, they reconised the importance of all Thai people, regardless of class, and the minority ethnic groups in shaping the Thai Nation.

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