Voices, Votes, and Violence: Electoral Politics and Political Participation in Thailand's Deep South

Event details

ANU Research School of Asia and the Pacific / PSC Seminar

Date & time

Friday 30 May 2014


APCD Boardroom, Level 2, Hedley Bull Building #130, cnr Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU


Daungyewa Utarasint


Allison Ley
+61 2 612 53097

Since 2004 violence in the three southernmost provinces of Thailand has provoked a distinctive kind of socio-political turmoil. Studying voting behaviour and electoral politics in Thailand's conflict-ravaged Muslim-majority southern provinces over the past thirty years offers a different perspective on the region's political and social dynamics. Most literature on the Deep South's conflict uses anthropological, historical, strategic or public policy approaches, rather than an electoral-political one. In fact, studying elections in this region can shed light on aspects of political and social relations that have been under-researched by other scholars. The unique aspect of this research will be its focus on how people in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat behave politically amid conflict and violence. The main question that this research wishes to address is: €œHow and why people in Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat vote the way they do?€


By carefully studying the patterns of political participation and voting results over the past three decades along with first-hand empirical evidence, we can investigate the relationship between elections and violence in this region and can also analyze how various social, political and cultural forces shape voters' electoral choices. For example, to what degree do religious authority, patron-client relations, economic privilege, and involvement in the insurgency or closeness to Thai security agencies influence elector behaviour. This study seeks to look at the election outcomes and also to uncover the web of relations and interests of various political actors which underlie these results.

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