Research Student: Panuwat Panduprasert
Political Role of the Military in Thailand since 2001
The re-emergence of the Thai military as a pre-eminent political actor, most clearly illustrated by the coups in 2006 and 2014, constitutes one of the most notable features of Thai politics over the last two decades. Despite the landslide electoral victories of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2001 and 2005, the Thai military has not retreated to the barracks as predicted by many observers and theorists of civil-military relations. My research aims to explore and explain the causes of this as well as the ways in which the Thai military has used its power in the political arena, starting from 2001, the year of Thaksin’s first electoral win.
A native of Thailand, I have taught Politics at the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University, Thailand, since January 2011. Prior to that I spent six years studying in the UK, earning a BA in Social and Political Science from Cambridge and an MSc in Comparative Politics (Democracy) from the LSE. In my free time I enjoy reading, working out in the gym, socialising, and playing computer games.
What motivated me to undertake PhD study?
I believe that doing a PhD is a great way of earning valuable research experiences as well as being able to deeply explore a topic of my interest while receiving helpful guidance and advice. Professor McCargo is a renowned expert in the field of Thai politics and the University of Leeds enjoys an excellent reputation among the public. Being a university lecturer myself, I also realise that a doctoral degree can go a long way in improving my career prospects.
What makes me passionate about my subject?
Making sure the military does not intervene in politics has been an aim for many governments around the world. How to realise that aim, however, is an unresolved question in comparative politics, with even some experts in the field admitting that we still have no clear answer to it. There has also been a lack of detailed studies on the political role of Thailand’s military in recent years, which is strange given the prominence of the military in politics over the past several years.
What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?
Continuing my job as lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.