abstract: The Enemy Within: the “Red Shirts” and the Production of Violent Cartography of the Thai Nation

Anusorn Unno

บทความนำเสนอในการประชุมวิชาการว่าด้วยเอเชียศึกษาแห่งญี่ปุ่น
[The Asian Studies Conference Japan (ASCJ)] ประจำปี ค.ศ. 2013

วันที่ 29-30 มิถุนายน 2556
ณ J. F. Oberlin University กรุงโตเกียว


How Thailand was cartographically imagined is tied to how its enemies were created. In the production of ancient Siamese maps – Sukhothai, Ayudhya, and early Rattanakosin periods – Burma was regarded as a main threat to Siam’s territorial sovereignty and its invasions resulted in different Siamese maps of different periods. In the “Cold War” era, neighboring communist countries were imagined as a major threat cartographically “eating” Thailand, the only “democratic” country in Indochina at the moment. In addition, students accused of being communists were regarded as Vietnamese, which partly justified the killing of them in the “6 October 1976 Incident.” After the “Cold War” era, there seemed to be no enemy threatening Thailand. However, the political conflict starting with the military coup – also known as the royal coup – in 2006 and culminating in the “colored-shirt” conflict created a new enemy of the country. Accused of disloyal to the monarchy, the “Red-Shirts” are regarded as a threat to the nation. A famous movie star said in his receiving a best actor award that if anyone – or the “Red-Shirts” – does not love “dad” – or the king – they should leave “dad’s home” – or Thailand. In this sense, rather than enemies from outside as in the past, the Thai nation is now facing the “enemy within.” Drawing on Shapiro’s notion of violent cartography, I examine how the “Red-Shirts” challenge the way in which the Thai nation was imagined and how they, in so doing, have become the latest enemy against which the Thai nation was cartographically created.


ร่วมนำเสนอในเวทีอภิปราย “Violent Cartographies of Southeast Asia”
organizer and chair: Alvin Lim (American University of Nigeria)

  • Anusorn Unno (Thammasat University)
    The Enemy Within: The “Red Shirts” and Their Challenge to the Violent Cartography of the Thai Nation
  • Frank Cibulka (Zayed University)
    Blood on the ‘Pearl of the Oriental Sea’: Enquiry into the Sources of Violence in the Philippines
  • Noah Viernes (University of Hawaii at Hilo)
    “We Have Our Own Art”: Bangkok Aesthetics and the Blood Paint of the UDD
  • Alvin Lim (American University of Nigeria)
    The Gaze and the Tain: Self and Other in Cambodia

discussant: David Toohey (Aichi University)