Betwixt Droughts and Floods: Flood Management Politics in Thailand

Naila Maier-Knapp

Abstract


Attempting to create greater understanding of the political dynamics that influence domestic disaster relief and management (DRM) in Thailand, this article takes a closer look at these dynamics by outlining the main actors involved in flood-related DRM. It acknowledges the importance of international and military actors but emphasises the role of national and subnational authorities. The article then identifies the central issues of DRM governance as capacity and bureaucracy and discusses these through a chronological assessment of the flood crisis in Thailand in 2011, interweaving the colourful domestic politics with various political cleavages and dichotomies, and thereby distinguishing between three main dichotomies which it considers as the central drivers of the political dynamics and institutional development of DRM. These issues can be summarised as old versus new institutions, technocracy versus bureaucracy and centralised (but with direct people-orientation through greater channels of citizenry participation) versus decentralised bureaucracy with an indirect orientation towards people.

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