Siege Of The Spirits: Community And Polity In Bangkok by Michael HerzfeldSiege Of The Spirits: Community And Polity In Bangkok by Michael Herzfeld

Siege Of The Spirits: Community And Polity In Bangkok

byMichael Herzfeld

Paperback | March 11, 2016

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What happens when three hundred alleged squatters go head-to-head with an enormous city government looking to develop the place where they live? As anthropologist Michael Herzfeld shows in this book, the answer can be surprising. He tells the story of Pom Mahakan, a tiny enclave in the heart of old Bangkok whose residents have resisted authorities’ demands to vacate their homes for a quarter of a century. It’s a story of community versus government, of old versus new, and of political will versus the law.
Herzfeld argues that even though the residents of Pom Mahakan have lost every legal battle the city government has dragged them into, they have won every public relations contest, highlighting their struggle as one against bureaucrats who do not respect the age-old values of Thai/Siamese social and cultural order. Such values include compassion for the poor and an understanding of urban space as deeply embedded in social and ritual relations. In a gripping account of their standoff, Herzfeld—who simultaneously argues for the importance of activism in scholarship—traces the agile political tactics and styles of the community’s leadership, using their struggle to illuminate the larger difficulties, tensions, and unresolved debates that continue to roil Thai society to this day. 
Michael Herzfeld is the Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University and has taught at several other universities worldwide. He is the author of many books, most recently The Body Impolitic and Evicted from Eternity, both also published by the University of Chicago Press. 
Title:Siege Of The Spirits: Community And Polity In BangkokFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.63 inPublished:March 11, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022633161X

ISBN - 13:9780226331614

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Table of Contents


1    Claiming Culture
2    Community, City, and Polity
3    The State and the City
4    Law, Courtesy, and the Tactics of Temporality
5    Currents and Countercurrents
6    Time, Sound, and Rhythm
7    The Polity in Miniature
8    Building the Future of the Past


Editorial Reviews

"Despite the apparent outcome for this particular community, the book will remain as a powerful tribute to the long-suffering residents of Pom Mahakan and it can and will still be read as a unique and relevant perspective on cultural politics in Thailand."