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Ghosts of the New CitySpirits, Urbanity, and the Ruins of Progress in Chiang Mai$
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Andrew Alan Johnson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839390

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839390.001.0001

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The City Doesn’t Have a Future

(p.153) Conclusion
Ghosts of the New City

Andrew Alan Johnson

University of Hawai'i Press

When seen in light of the long history of center-oriented, charismatic space, the Northern Thai culture industry, especially that seeking to revitalize the city, is re-enacting the theater state, attempting to recreate the charismatic potential of the past in order to mobilize it for the future. This leads to a fusion between two cosmologies, or, rather, the adaptation of a past cosmological knowledge to fit the frame of the present. What emerges is a center-oriented, urban notion of progress, one which is juxtaposed to a rural that represents not nostalgia, as it did in European contexts, but the uncanny emergence of ghosts, criminals, and decline.

Keywords:   Uncanny, theater state, progress, urbanity, knowledge, ontology, charisma, Thailand, Buddhism

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