Ngamsang, Sirirat and John Walsh, “Fostering Ties through Trains and Tracks: A Neo-Gramscian Analysis of Chinese-Thai Relations,” paper to be presented at the International Conference on Commerce, Financial Markets and Corporate Governance/2nd International Conference on Research Methods in Management and Social Sciences (Shinawatra University, Thailand: February 7th, 2015).
The relationship between China and Thailand has been a long and complex one and featured interactions on many different levels. Currently, ties at the state level are being intensified by the contracts signed to bring about Chinese-built infrastructure in Thailand, particularly in the case of the dual track railway line. One approach to understanding international relations is the neo-Gramscian approach, which focuses on the concept of hegemony within society and how it might be constructed on a world stage. Neo-Gramscian approaches are diverse in nature and cover the social relations of production, forms of state and world orders. This paper outlines the historical context of Sino-Thai relations and how they have developed into the contemporary experience from a neo-Gramscian perspective as a means not just of understanding the world but predicting how it is likely to change in the future. The focus is on infrastructure as an enabling technology that is available to a wide range of people and helps to link all places of production and consumption. As such, it both broadens and deepens connectivity between and within the countries concerned with many results.
Keywords: China, infrastructure, neo-Gramscian analysis, Thailand, transportation