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Title: The study of Wai Phra Kao Wat in Bangkok, Thailand
Author: Kaimook, Nattaporn
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 3772
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2018
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The study presents a new form of pilgrimage introduced by Thai authorities and involving visiting to nine temples (Wai Phra Kao Wat) in Bangkok. I will focus on four main aspects of this phenomenon. Firstly, the study will describe the dynamic application of the practice (Wai Phra Kao Wat) including the forms of devotion, the designation of temples by authorities, the pilgrims’ experience, and the role played by local ‘communities’ (chumchon). Secondly, the study will consider this pilgrimage as a case study with which to explore how Thai cultural phenomena provide multiple avenues for Thai people to reflect on their perception of the relation between Buddhism (Theravada Buddhism in particular) and the state. Thirdly, the study explores the contribution of ‘new’ performances of religiosity in popular Buddhism into shaping modern economy and rhetorical politics. Lastly, the study will provide the significance of Wai Phra Kao Wat that could shed light on important contemporary Thai cultural phenomena such as the emergence of ‘pilgrimage tourism’ on socio-cultural and economic changes and the relationship between ritual practice and Thai citizenship. The ethnographic methods including participant observation and interviewing are mainly employed throughout the fieldwork. I conclude that Buddhism in contemporary Thailand becomes an instrument to negotiate identities and meanings at the level of governance. Wai Phra Kao Wat, a state-oriented campaign, has been then utilised to enhance Thai capital’s venture into the global economy as well as to establish regime legitimacy with the inculcation of nation, religion, and monarchy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available