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World Conqueror and World Renouncer: A Study of Buddhism and Polity in Thailand Against a Historical Background
by S.J. Tambiah
World Conqueror and World Renouncer is the first comprehensive and authoritative work on the relationship between Buddhism and the polity (political organization) in Thailand. The book conveys the historical background necessary for full comprehension of the contemporary structural relationship between Buddhism, the sangha (monastic order), and the polity, including the hi...more
Paperback, 568 pages
Published November 30th 2007 by Cambridge University Press
(first published August 27th 1976)
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Obeyesekere, Spiro, and R.Gombrich had very helpful reviews. In brief, Tambiah had two parts in this book. The second part dealt with modern Thai Buddhism based on his fieldwork and statistical data. The first part dealt with theoretical construct of a Buddhist model of kingship by embedded it in history. Obeyesekere commented while Tambiah thought of Weber, his own usage of "transformation" of a structural model was radically different from Weber's. For Weber, an ideal type was just a theoretic...more
Part one of this book covers the history of Buddhism in Siam (aka Thailand) as well as the history of the Thai throne, with particular focus on the thirteenth century or so onward. The second part of the book is an anthropological analysis of the place of the wat in contemporary Thai society (up to about 1971). He's not an exciting writer and there are a fair number of bad sentences in the book, but he does seem to be largely correct, partially because his thesis is incredibly complex. In fact i...more