Zehner, “The church, the monastery and the politician: Perils of entrepreneurial leadership in post-1970s Thailand”

June 4, 2013

Zehner, Edward. 2013.The church, the monastery and the politician: Perils of entrepreneurial leadership in post-1970s Thailand. Culture and Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 14(2):185-203.

Abstract: In recent decades, Thailand has seen the development of new styles of social and political organisation whose effects can be seen across religious and confessional lines. Among them are charismatically led large-scale organisations emulating the style of large-scale businesses. The article ‘triangulates’ this style via brief case studies of the Thai Rak Thai Party (now the Phuea Thai Party), the Wat Phra Dhammakaya Buddhist meditation movement and the Church of the Divine Call (pseudonym), who share some underlying similarities despite their overt differences. The similarities among the groups flow in part from trends associated with economic development and globalisation. Yet, at the same time these groups – and the ways in which they inspired such fervent opposition – express some enduring features of Thai cultural and social organisation.

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