Authors: Siwach Sripokangkul and Mark S. Cogan
Year: 2019, Volume 19 Number 2
The employment of acts of political demonology has become common among power holders in Thai society. Demonization campaigns trace back to the early 1970s when Thai nationalists deemed Communists to be “beasts in human clothing.” This paper reviews demonization strategies employed by power holders (countersubversives) to undermine, marginalize, and repress anti-government protesters (subversives), beginning with the formative 1970s student movements, and continuing through the 2014 military coup d’état. We argue through a series of vignettes that the Thai elites have conveniently labeled anti-government protesters and their mobilization networks as demons, trolls, or animals due to their supposed threats to the Thai state, its monarchy, or national religion.
Keywords: political demonology, Thailand, dehumanization, state violence, repression