From a Nation-Building Tool to an Economic Resource

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Abstract

This qualitative study is based on genealogical methodology and aims to examine the cultural policy content in Thai society over time and its impact on the country’s development. The study focuses on the analysis of cultural policy documents, with an emphasis on strategic policies and examines areas of culture that appear in national plans and cultural policies at different levels. The researchers collected data from official government sources and secondary documents. Results reveal that former Thai cultural policies during the period of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram and Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat emphasized nation-building culture and good traditional culture, respectively. However, these kinds of cultural policies, which were often seen as important tools for building and unifying the nation, are now being challenged by modern economic development and globalization, as culture is increasingly seen as an important form of capital in promoting cultural development. The current Thai cultural policies focus on generating income from culture but face accusations of contradiction and inconsistencies. Cultural policies must aim at both economic and social development, as well as harmonize cultural globalization and the new economy.