Environmentalisms in Twenty-First Century Thailand: Continuities, Discontinuities, and Emerging Trajectories

TitleEnvironmentalisms in Twenty-First Century Thailand: Continuities, Discontinuities, and Emerging Trajectories
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsElinoff E, Lamb V
Secondary TitleJournal of Contemporary Asia
Key themesAccessToJustice, CivilSociety-Donors, Dispossession-grabbing, Environment

How have Thailand’s environmental politics changed across the last five decades? How have they remained the same? What role do environmental movements in Thailand play in the country’s current moment of extended military-led rule and global environmental change? This article addresses these questions by presenting a critical genealogy of Thailand’s environmental politics. It begins with a larger framing of environmental movements within the context of Thai history and then traces these struggles through to the twenty-first century. Rather than argue that environmental politics are distinct from other forms of politics, we contend that environmental struggles should be understood as unfolding within and shaping Thailand’s changing social, economic, and political landscape. Although Thailand’s environmental movements have opened new pathways towards more just politics, they have also re-entrenched old political orders and, at times, deepened political divisions. By attending to these complex effects, this article highlights the ambiguous relationship between environmental politics and pro-democracy mobilisation. Rather than assume that environmental activism is inherently progressive, it demonstrates how Thailand’s environmental politics are complex, neither linear nor determined in their relationship with democracy.


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Document Type

Journal Article