About a hundred years ago, some long-forgotten commentator on the Thai scene wrote down this prediction: of all the countries of Asia including Japan, Thailand — or as it was then called, Siam — showed the greatest potential for modernization; Siam would enter the twentieth century an urban, industrial nation. History took little note of the man who made this forecast, but the evidence of his error has been writ large. Thailand continued for a long time without any stark discontinuity in its culture and its social structure. In many ways, persistence and stability have been dominant themes in the nation’s history, until quite recently. Today the cumulative effects of accelerating development become ever more apparent. Thailand changes at a growing rate, with an expanding impact.
This change is reflected in the literature available for the study of Thailand. That literature proliferates. Today’s scholar is confronted with a profusion of materials, and still more are forthcoming. Therefore, we have prepared this selective bibliographical guide to offer a baseline for the scholar interested in studying Thai government and its social, economic, and cultural context. If we have done our job adequately, the scholar can wrestle with the problem of sources, knowing that a basic collection of the good (and some that he may find not so good) Englishlanguage materials produced through 1969 has been identified and briefly described.
We have also sought to identify key sources of future information. Any bibliography is out of date by the time it is published, or even before. There is probably more material about Thailand in the making at this moment than has been produced in the past twenty years. Much of this future material will flow to comparatively few centers; most of it will be recorded in a relatively small number of sources; and a good bit will be produced at places that can be identified. We do not claim to have identified all the places to look for Thai materials in the 1970’s, but we have indicated the sources that are most likely to prove rewarding. Nor have we tried to duplicate existing general bibliographies, which are themselves cited and supplemented here.
Most of the materials cited are of recent origin, although a fairly large number of older items of particular value are also included. Practically all of the cited literature is in English. Selected dissertations, theses, and unpublished papers also are cited since access is often available to such materials, and some of them contain data otherwise difficult to acquire.
An attempt has been made to incorporate materials reflecting the perspectives, concepts, and methods of contemporary social sciences, in addition to other items which, although they are simple descriptions or subjective interpretations, are of particular use to social scientists. We have sought to classify and briefly describe items in a way that will enable the prospective reader of this bibliography to make a preliminary judgment of their usefulness to him.