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A History of Manners and Civility in Thailand by Patrick Jory

Subrahmanyan, A. (2022) A History of Manners and Civility in Thailand by Patrick Jory. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 52 (4). pp. 642-644.

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Influenced by cultural studies, anthropology, and literary criticism, many historians of colonial and postcolonial societies cite Western powers’ notions of civilization as a partial explanation for their political and economic dominance. The effects of Western hegemony are often presented as creating a two-tiered world that, regardless of how self-serving or racist Western imperial claims to superiority might have been, shows how developing societies’ adaptation to modernity are consistently evaluated on the basis of their assimilation of Western standards of personal behavior.

By contrast, few histories of the third world show a convergence in globalizing processes—or “habitus,” as Jory terms societies’ civilizing behaviors—stemming from common politico-historical changes. The reason is an unfamiliarity with methods pioneered in historical sociology, coupled with a belief that such methods privilege the West or privilege Eurocentrism. In an approach inspired by Norbert Elias’ The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations (Hoboken, 2000; orig, pub. Basil, 1939),...

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: MIT Press Direct
Copyright: © 2022 The MIT Press
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