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Title: The Thais of Kelantan : a socio-political study of an ethnic outpost
Author: Kershaw, Roger Gordon
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1969
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A study of the 'political integration' of a minority group in a new state can undertake little more than to suggest the relative importance of positive and negative current responses to the new political environment, and the result will be an analysis in terms of movement towards or away from an essentially notional goal of integration. This technique may, however, have relevance in the older states too, where no integration of a minority, and common political identity between groups, should ever be regarded as immutable. On the other hand, while this study of the Buddhist Thai of Kelantan concludes on a pessimistic note concerning future trends, it is not intended to subscribe to the proposition that a plural society is by definition non-integrable. The plural society of colonial Kelantan was distinctly an integrated society, and the situation of the Kelantan Thai today is, on balance, still an integrative one. The observer's expectation of a future movement towards alienation arises from a projection of current political trends and a prediction that the changing environment will be increasingly perceived as hostile in terms of the Thais' received or evolving political values. The integrative ambience of today is likewise explained in terms of a consonance between the political environment and the values, or political culture, moulded by historical experience both colonial and pre-colonial - albeit a lack of political structure and leadership inhibit resistance. But more fundamental and unchanging than any value prescriptive of an ideal political or social system and roles within it, is ethnic identity, chiefly defined and perpetuated in the Kelantan Thai case by the Buddhist religion, More significant (for alienation) than an incipient political dimension of religious identification with Thailand may be a sense that democratic politics demands submergence of a minority's identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral