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After Secular Law$
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Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Robert A. Yelle, and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804775366

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804775366.001.0001

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“The Spirits Were Always Watching”

“The Spirits Were Always Watching”

Buddhism, Secular Law, and Social Change in Thailand

(p.242) Chapter Twelve “The Spirits Were Always Watching”
After Secular Law

David M. Engel

Stanford University Press

This chapter traces the declining use of Thai courts in injury cases beginning with the suppression of customary law and religious practices through legal codification in the early twentieth century. Close linkages that had formerly existed between the mangrai thammasat (royal codes) in northern Thailand, and village customary practices and beliefs concerning injuries that were rooted in spirit worship and Buddhism were destroyed by the adoption of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code. In recent years, village-based practices have disappeared as a viable response to injury cases, and injury victims increasingly explain causation using the principles of a modernist Theravada Buddhism.

Keywords:   customary law, mangrai thammasat, Thai royal codes, Theravada Buddhism, injury cases

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