Edoardo Siani

Position: Postdoctoral Fellow

MAIL: edosiani [at] cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp

Research Departments

Political and Economic Coexistence


Social/Cultural Anthropology, Thai Studies, Southeast Asian Studies

Research Interests

・Sovereignty and embodient in contemporary Thailand
・Ethnography on death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol (book project)
・Ethnography on divination in Bangkok (book project)

Sovereignty and embodient in contemporary Thailand
My current postdoctoral research project at CSEAS explores the relationship between emodiment and sovereign power in contemporary Buddhist Thailand through an ethnographic investigation of the recent boom of health-related practices in Bangkok. My primary tool for data collection is participant observation, conducted with sports and clean-food fanatics at fitness centers that opened in Bangkok during the period of interregnum. The project investigates why a marked interest in the body of the citizen should have boomed at such a pivotal time in Thai history. It assesses whether theories that were developed in the context of Christian Europe may be applicable to present-day Buddhist Thailand. These theories posit that the passing of the last monarchs in Europe resulted in a new interest in the bodies of the citizens, who underwent new regimes of fitness and healthy eating in order to become the physical bearers of the principle of sovereignty.

Ethnography on death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol (book project)
I have been writing a book, with historian Matthew Phillips, that draws on our ethnographic experience of the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol in Bangkok.

Ethnography on divination in Bangkok (book project)
I have been adapting my PhD thesis into a book manuscript, which explores ethnographically the world of divination in Bangkok.

  • Thai Body Politics: Sovereignty and the Body of the Citizen in Contemporary Thailand

  • Siani, Edoardo. 2017. The Eclipse of the Diviners: Sovereign Power and the Buddhist Cosmos at the End of Thailand’s Ninth Reign. PhD Thesis at SOAS, University of London.