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A History of Manners and Civility in Thailand
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Book description

Manners have long been a central concern of Thai society. Kings, aristocrats, prime ministers, monks, army generals, politicians, poets, novelists, journalists and teachers have produced a large corpus of literature that sets out models of appropriate behaviour. These include such things as how to stand, walk, sit, pay homage, prostrate oneself in the presence of high-status people, sleep, eat, manage bodily functions, dress, pay respect to superiors, deal with inferiors, socialize, and play. These modes of conduct have been taught or enforced by families, monasteries, court society, and, in the twentieth century, the state, through the education system, the bureaucracy, and the mass media. In this innovative new social history, based on Thai manners and etiquette manuals dating from the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century, Patrick Jory presents the first ever history of manners in Thailand and challenges the idea of Western influence as the determinant of change in ideals of conduct.

Reviews

‘In this highly original book, Patrick Jory tracks the relations between power and behavior from the late 19th century to the present, showing how Thailand's elites have dictated rules on manners and public conduct to sustain a steep social hierarchy through the jolting transitions to the modern world.'

Chris Baker - co-author of A History of Ayutthaya: Siam in the Early Modern World

‘As the seams containing Thailand's political culture fray, Jory's timely book breaks down the historical and cultural complex we call ‘manners' to reveal the stakes involved when one submits to or rejects the moral and behavioral order reigning there today.'

Tamara Loos - author of Bones Around My Neck: The Life and Exile of a Prince Provocateur

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