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The Unfit Puzzle: Archival Value and Society in Contemporary Thailand

Sucha-Xaya, N; (2017) The Unfit Puzzle: Archival Value and Society in Contemporary Thailand. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is an examination of archival value and its compatibility with social values held in Thai society, under the research question: How might an improved understanding of Thai values help to address the problems facing archives in Thailand? The research was prompted by a desire to understand problematic situations at the National Archives of Thailand by which archives are accessed by only a limited group of users, little impact is made on the wider society and there is a lack of support from the government. Through a literature review in sociology, psychology and archive studies, the research explores different cultural entities – namely value, attitude and worldview – in the Thai archival milieu, with special comparative reference to these aspects in British society. The research found that the modern archival system, which is largely based on Western models, does not support prominent Thai values and even conflicts with them, while the traditional Thai archival system is a closer fit. Archives are not widely understood; often they are associated with the traditional sense of archives, which focuses on archives as heritage or high art that is distant from ordinary life. Comprehensive treatment of these issues also requires analysis of perceptions on topics such as history, knowledge and education, identity and rights. All of these are uniquely shaped by the Thai Buddhist worldview and old social structure, which values hierarchy and social harmony over the concern for rights and identity that is more prevalent in the British context. Nevertheless, the thesis also notes the relatively recent growth of more horizontal, democratic values. This thesis provides recommendations emphasising archival value that fits into Thai society. At the same time, the evidential value in archives is shown to have the potential to build on new societal values that are well adapted for the globalised world.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The Unfit Puzzle: Archival Value and Society in Contemporary Thailand
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Archival value, Thai social values, Thailand
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1542370
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