A Survey of the Development of Thailand

Publication Year



Thailand, development, history, culture, modernization, society


Asian History | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social History | South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies


During the fall of 1991, I studied in Thailand with the School for International Training. In Thailand, I lived with a Thai family and studied Thai culture and language at Payap University in Chiang Mai, and I studied Thai classical music with Ajarn Udom Arunrattana in Bangkok. As part of my experience, I encountered both the positive and negative sides of Thai culture. I came to love and admire the positive side, and I came to dislike and shun the negative. Upon returning to American, I conducted several academic endeavors aimed at reflecting upon the positive experiences that I had encountered. This work represents an attempt to confront and understand the negative side of Thailand's development, as well as an attempt to investigate hopeful trends for the future.

While traveling about Thailand, I was introduced to many examples of Thai Westernization and modernization, as well as many of the country's problems associated with mismanaged development including poverty, slum dwelling, prostitution, ecological disaster, land tenancy, and a variety of other difficulties that Thailand is experiencing. I came to recognize many of the problems that most visitors to Thailand ignore in favor of the many marvelous cultural offerings that the country presents. However, I did not fully understand the causes of those problems. This work is an interdisciplinary endeavor aimed at gaining a better understanding of the causes of Thailand's developmental difficulties.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Asian Studies

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