Royal Words and Their Unroyal Consequences

Peer Reviewed

Essay Excerpt

Courtiers create a magic circle of knowledge around the Thai Buddhist king by observing sacred traditions of hierarchy concerning speech and sight. In doing so, they shield the king from criticism, reinforce notions of royal omnipotence, and restrict the flow of dangerous information in and out of the palace. This article suggests connections between the king's socialization, the royal advice of the 1960s and 1970s-the king's analysis of the sorrows of his subjects, his remedies for the ills of modernity-and the rise of a new Buddhist corporate aristocracy. (Gray, 448)

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