Monday, December 3, 2007


As the administrative organization of a country is not a very "sexy" topic, the number of books about this topic is rather low, especially when not counting the books in Thai language which are not yet accessible to me. So far I only know of three books more-or-less being written about this topic:
  • Tej Bunnag, The Provincial Administration of Siam 1892-1915, ISBN 0-19-580343-4, Oxford University Press, 1978. As the title suggests, the books deals with the administrative reforms (thesaphiban) under Prince Damrong as the first Interior minister of Siam. The focus is on the transition of the Mueang to the modern-day provinces. Originally led by a governor, who inherited his title to his son, and who ruled the town like a sovereign, these governors were demoted by the newly introduces Monthon administrators.
  • Nelson, Michael H. 1998. Central Authority and Local Democratization in Thailand: A Case Study from Chachoengsao Province. White Lotus, Bangkok 1998. This books is about the actual politics within the local administrative structures, especially about the problems around the elections in 1992 like vote buying.
  • Wales, H.G. Quaritch, Ancient Siamese Government and Administration, New York 1965 (London 1934). The topic of this book is the administration of the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya kingdoms, till the 18th century. It thus forms the historical background on the Mueang system reformed around 1900.

Of course also the more general history books mention the historical administration as well, but it is obviously only a small part of the contents. And it seems the above are about all the books available on this topic, as browsing through the reference sections of all my books I can only find either unpublished dissertations (actually the first two above were original dissertations as well), or articles in journals like the Journal of the Siam Society. Also only the book by Michael Nelson is still in print, and though I have them as scans in my computer I still look for the actual books, but when they show up in the online antiquarian websites they are usually quite expensive.

If anyone can recommend me a good Thai language book about these topics I'd happy to add it to my library. I guess it'd make me more diligent in learning Thai if I have something I want to read so much...

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