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The flag of Thailand is commonly invoked as a symbol of the Thai identity.

Thainess or the Thai identity ( Thai: ความเป็นไทย, RTGSkhwam pen thai) is a conceptual identity regarding the quality of being Thai, i.e. characteristics seen as distinctive to the Thai people, Thai culture, and those belonging to Thailand as a whole. It forms the central identity upon which discourses on Thai nationalism have been constructed, with main contributors including King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) during his reign from 1910 to 1925 and Luang Wichitwathakan during the early post-absolute monarchy period (after 1932). Though poorly defined, it is often expressed as devotion to the three pillars of " nation, religion, king", a concept first popularized by Vajiravudh. It was used as a tool by both the absolute monarchy and the People's Party governments to build political hegemony over the country through the process of Thaification, as well as in the anti-communist effort during the 1960s–1970s. It has also become a form of promotional representation by which images of the country are presented to international visitors, especially from the late 20th century. The concept has continued to evolve in various directions, and has been increasingly questioned by scholars since the 1990s and into the 21st century.

See also

Further reading

  • Farrelly, Nicholas (2016). "Being Thai: A Narrow Identity in a Wide World". In Singh, Daljit; Cook, Malcolm (eds.). Southeast Asian Affairs 2016. Singapore: ISEAS Publishing.
  • Chachavalpongpun, Pavin (2005). A Plastic Nation: The Curse of Thainess in Thai-Burmese Relations. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. ISBN  978-0761831525.
  • Tejapira, Kasian (2001). "The post-modernization of Thainess". In Yao, Souchou (ed.). House of Glass: Culture, Modernity, and the State in Southeast Asia. Singapore: ISEAS Publishing.