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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 26, 2020

Addressing Instability in Thailand’s Deep South with Law and Development

Prapin Nuchpiam and Dhiyathad Prateeppornnarong


This article approaches the long-standing instability in the southernmost part of Thailand, where a vast majority of the population is Muslim, from a law and development perspective. The instability has resulted from a highly complicated conflict, of which religious and ethnic differences, political conflict, and even organized crime are generally claimed as the main causes. The article directs its attention to a sense of resentment among the Muslim population, which has arisen from enduring economic disparities and injustice they have suffered at the hands of the authorities. Addressing these two closely related issues certainly does not lead to a resolution of the conflict, but tackling them in an interrelated manner at least clarifies one of its significant aspects and contributes in a meaningful way to the ongoing search for a sustainable peace in Thailand’s southernmost region. The law and development approach we have adopted for this study attempts to show how the existing regulatory design (laws, legal frameworks, institutions) has been implemented – that is, how it has been complied with in terms of generation of action programs and strategies (in the form of security operations and development initiatives) and to what effect. Based on our findings, the quality of the implementation represents a major condition for the failure of the law and development implementation in Thailand’s Deep South. We therefore highlight the necessity of genuine political will and the enhancement of the state capacity for law enforcement through eradication of corruption and opportunistic crime as a feasible solution in this context.

Corresponding author: Prapin Nuchpiam, National Institute of Development Administration, Bangkok, Thailand, E-mail:


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Published Online: 2020-08-26
Published in Print: 2020-09-25

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