Since the collapse of Marxism as the dominant tradition of radical critique in the 1980s, varieties of post-structuralism have emerged as the most influential form of critical analysis in Thai studies, both in Thailand and the West. However, like previous generations of Marxist-inspired analysts, contemporary post-structuralists need to address epistemological questions about the validity of using theory derived from the Western cultural and intellectual tradition in studying a South East Asian society. Issues regarding the translation, transculturation and localization of theory are just as important for twenty-first-century post-structuralist Thai studies as they were for twentieth-century Marxist Thai studies. This study is a critical review of Rosalind Morris's post-structuralist analyses of modern Thai culture. Through an assessment of the work of a prominent advocate of post-structuralist approaches to interpreting modern Thai culture, it highlights the interrelationship between the practice of translation between languages/discourses, on the one hand, and the epistemological status of Western theory in Thai studies, on the other.
|South East Asia Research
|Published - 2004