Tonan Talk on July 11th by Dr. Wolfram Schaffar

Date: July 11th (Wed.) 2018, 14:00 – 15:30
Place: Tonan-tei (Room no. 201) on the second floor of Inamori Foundation Memorial Building, CSEAS, Kyoto University

Title: Facebook-based vigilante groups in Thailand and the Philippines and the rise of new authoritarianism
Speaker: Dr. Wolfram Schaffar, Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna

Moderator: Dr.Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Associate Professor, CSEAS

Thailand and the Philippines are two prominent examples of the decline of democracy in Southeast Asia. Despite the difference how the current governments came to power – Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines and enjoys high popular support, whereas Prayuth became the Prime Minister of Thailand by a coup d’état and has to fear elections – there are also striking similarities. One is the role of the middle class and political mobilization in the internet for the rise and the consolidation of the authoritarian regimes.

In my presentation, I will discuss Facebook groups which support the present regimes in Thailand and the Philippines. Often these groups have a self-identification as vigilante groups which are organized around a specific issue – such as the Rubbish Collector Organization in Thailand, which propagates to protect the monarchy, or various Philippine groups using the acronym DDS (Duterte Defence Squad, Duterte Diehard Supporters) which goes back to the Davao Death Squad vigilante group. Another common feature is the transnational character of these groups, the base of which often consists of overseas Thai or Philippino/as. Against this background, I will discuss the role of social media and transnational vigilante groups in the emergence and consolidation of authoritarian regimes.

About the speaker:
From 2010 until 2018, Wolfram Schaffar has been working as professor for development studies and political science at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna. Prior to this he was affiliated to the University of Bonn, to Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and to the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden, Netherlands. His fields of interest are state theory of the Global South, social movements, new constitutionalism and democratization processes, as well as new authoritarianism.