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Working towards the MonarchyThe Politics of Space in Downtown Bangkok$
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Serhat Ünaldi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824855727

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824855727.001.0001

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The Politics of Space I

The Politics of Space I

Siam-Ratchaprasong from Above

(p.144) 5 The Politics of Space I
Working towards the Monarchy

Serhat Ünaldi

University of Hawai'i Press

Siam-Ratchaprasong is the major center of Thailand’s royalist-led capitalist development and of its inherent contradictions. A birds-eye view on its architecture reveals just how much orientations towards the monarchy have shaped this stretch of land in the heart of Bangkok. Case studies of Sra Pathum Palace, the private palace of the king’s family, and of the controversial destruction of Phetchabun Palace, the former residence of a prince from a family line rival to that of the king, illustrate how developers in the Siam-Ratchaprasong area have been working towards the monarchy through space. However, a third case study shows how local business owners have become religious patrons themselves by setting up Hindu shrines at Ratchaprasong intersection. Their popularity often outshines that of more established royal places of worship. The weakening of the royal monopoly over religious sponsorship is indicative of the threat posed to the monarchy by capitalists.

Keywords:   Thailand, Siam-Ratchaprasong, Bhumibol, architecture, Siam Paragon, Siam Intercontinental, Wang Phetchabun, Sra Pathum Palace, Foucault

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