Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - Dehumanization, Moral Violence and Uncivil Disobedience: Identity Politics of “Good People” in the Thai Political Crisis (2013-14)

Friday, July 6
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Silveroak I, Ground Floor

This paper examines the discursive practices of violence produced by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), the conservative movement who organized the mass protest against the government and paved the way for the 2014 coup in Thailand. By adopting the concepts of dehumanization, moral violence, and uncivil disobedience, this paper finds that the PDRC movement intentionally formulates the collective identity of “good people”. The “good people” identity produces a binary opposition building between “good and bad people” and “moral and immoral force.” The binary opposition leads to the dehumanization of PDRC’s opposition and justifies the use of violence by PDRC protesters. In the PDRC’s view, violent measures are necessary and morally justified to eliminate the immoral government and its supporters in order to rebuild the political and social order based on morality and guided by good people. The moral politics of PDRC thus induces and increases, rather than reduce or prohibit, violence. In addition, political mobilization led by the PDRC cannot be classified as a nonviolent movement. Their leaders and followers selectively use non-violent means only when they see it give them political advantages. In practice, the PDRC does not deny the necessity of the use of force to achieve their political goals. Furthermore, unlike the civil disobedience movement, the PDRC movement rejects entirely the legitimacy of the existing rules and political system which destroy the opportunities to solve the conflict through normal channels and thus paves the way to the political impasse at the end.    

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4 - Dehumanization, Moral Violence and Uncivil Disobedience: Identity Politics of “Good People” in the Thai Political Crisis (2013-14)



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Send Email for Dehumanization, Moral Violence and Uncivil Disobedience: Identity Politics of “Good People” in the Thai Political Crisis (2013-14)