M. R. Kukrit Pramoj’s theory of good governance and political change: the dialectics of Farang Sakdina

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


  • Tony Waters

M. R. Kukrit Pramoj wrote Farang Sakdina in 1957–1958 as both a theoretical critique of western development planners, and the Marxist critics of Thai society like Jit Phoumisak. Kukrit’s critique was that both used only European examples to prescribe development policies for Thailand. By this he meant that the Americans insisted on modernization theory, and Soviet theoreticians insisted on Marx’s historical materialism. Kukrit responded that data developed from Europe is not applicable to Thailand because European feudalism had different attitudes toward land and labor than the ancient Thai “feudalism” known as sakdina. A textual analysis of Kukrit’s book Farang Sakdina reveals Kukrit proposes a dialectical theory of historical change in which the “contradictions” within society are continually resolved and reconstituted. Kukrit uses this data to analyze politics and kingship in England, Thailand, and implicitly, other countries.

ZeitschriftHumanities & social sciences communications
Anzahl der Seiten11
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 05.05.2022

Bibliographische Notiz

The translated portions of this article were undertaken by the author and Thai students in his “English Translation” course at Payap University in 2016–2017. The students include: Jiranan Sirikunpahisan (Taew), Airin Horatschek (Airin), Kwanjira Wiwattana (Palm), Mayweya Koryaklang (Fang), Kuansiree Suanek (Meaw), Supon Phonchatchawankun (Su), Thirawit Pueng-ngam (Thor), Krittaporn Ruankaew (Yo), Hande Yilmaz (Hande), Sasithorn Katika (Cake), Nattaporn Chantajitpreecha (Nati), Chris Benson (Chris), and Darapan Chan-in (Eve). I think them for coming to class at 8 a.m. to discuss the old-fashioned Thai language that Kukrit used to describe old-fashioned England. Ms. Patcharee Promsuwan is my Thai teacher, but also has an abiding interest in shades of meaning between Thai and English. Extended conversations with Ms. Patcharee, Mr. Pichien Charoenkolkit, and Dr. Alan Gibson gave me confidence that M. L. Kukrit Pramoj has something important to say to the broader world of political theory. Dr. Sakda Jongkaewattana introduced me to Kukrit’s writing in about 2006. A general thanks is due Rebecca Weldon who advises me, and many others, on issues in northern Thailand and beyond.