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Vortrag von James Taylor an der HU Berlin am 29. Juni

Thailand@HU Lecture Series

Dr. James Taylor
University of Adelaide – Anthropology Department

“Red Monks, Revolution, and Monasticism”

When:     Friday, June 29th 2012 / 14:00 – 16:00 Uhr
Where:    IAAW – Invalidenstr. 118 – room 315 (3rd floor)

Organized and presented by the “Thailand Research Group”

Contact: http://iaaw.hu-berlin.de/southeastasia/history/studygroups/thailand

The call for majoritarian democracy in Thailand, which included a small group of
urban political monks and village (Wat Baan) monks, has been articulated through
a new social movement known as the “Red Shirts”, taking to the streets of
Bangkok for the first time in 2007. This paper compares an increasing “political
spirituality” (Foucault) of new “red monks” in Thailand working towards the
restoration of full electoral democracy, justice and human rights, comparing
with militant monks in Burma during the “Saffron Revolution” which was
simultaneously taking place next door in Rangoon. To understand articulations of
political spirituality in Thailand, Taylor argues that we need to look at the
centre-dominant monastic reforms of the late nineteenth century to early
twentieth century and its social, economic and political impacts in peripheral
societies/sanghas. In taking to the barricades early in 2010 the red shirts,
mostly coming from outside Bangkok clearly shook the complacency of the summit
and the traditional sacred centre-nation, including the role of civic religion.
Taylor attempts to elucidate a complexity and divisiveness in the domain of
religio-politics as it percolates downwards to the base and, as a radical
Derridean “a/theology”, reverberates back to the centre-summit. In much of the
current Bangkok Period there has been a history of what Tambiah called
“political penetration” into monastic matters. Monks have been and remain
largely compliant to an administrative hierarchy controlled in the interests of
rulers and the elites. But as new questions of morality, righteousness and power
surface in the discourses among red shirts, new militant monks have been
speaking out on the intent of “dhammic action”, even if appearing to lack a
distinctive/vernacular framework for politico-religious action.

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