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The study of Wai Phra Kao Wat in Bangkok, Thailand

KAIMOOK, NATTAPORN (2018) The study of Wai Phra Kao Wat in Bangkok, Thailand. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The study presents a new form of pilgrimage introduced by Thai authorities and involving visiting to nine temples (Wai Phra Kao Wat) in Bangkok. I will focus on four main aspects of this phenomenon. Firstly, the study will describe the dynamic application of the practice (Wai Phra Kao Wat) including the forms of devotion, the designation of temples by authorities, the pilgrims’ experience, and the role played by local ‘communities’ (chumchon). Secondly, the study will consider this pilgrimage as a case study with which to explore how Thai cultural phenomena provide multiple avenues for Thai people to reflect on their perception of the relation between Buddhism (Theravada Buddhism in particular) and the state. Thirdly, the study explores the contribution of ‘new’ performances of religiosity in popular Buddhism into shaping modern economy and rhetorical politics. Lastly, the study will provide the significance of Wai Phra Kao Wat that could shed light on important contemporary Thai cultural phenomena such as the emergence of ‘pilgrimage tourism’ on socio-cultural and economic changes and the relationship between ritual practice and Thai citizenship. The ethnographic methods including participant observation and interviewing are mainly employed throughout the fieldwork. I conclude that Buddhism in contemporary Thailand becomes an instrument to negotiate identities and meanings at the level of governance. Wai Phra Kao Wat, a state-oriented campaign, has been then utilised to enhance Thai capital’s venture into the global economy as well as to establish regime legitimacy with the inculcation of nation, religion, and monarchy.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Wai Phra Kao Wat, Religious Tourism, Buddhism, Rhetorics
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 Nov 2018 09:03

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