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Policing in Colonial Empires

Cases, Connections, Boundaries (ca. 1850–1970)


Edited By Emmanuel Blanchard, Marieke Bloembergen and Amandine Lauro

Colonial security strategies and the postcolonial vestiges they left both in the global South and in former metropoles have recently attracted renewed academic attention. Policing in Colonial Empires is a collection of essays reflecting current, ongoing research and exploring the multifaceted dynamics of policing in colonial societies over the past two centuries. Spanning several continents and colonial contexts (some of them liminal or little-explored), the book examines the limits and legitimacies of the functioning of colonial policing. Addressing issues such as collaboration, coercion, violence, race, and intelligence, the collected works ask what exactly was colonial about colonial policing. Together, the contributors point out the complex nature of colonial law and order maintenance, and provide insights on histories that might reflect the legacies of its many variants.

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Missionaries of Royalist Nationalism: Transformations of the Thai Border Patrol Police during the Cold War (Sinae Hyun)


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Missionaries of Royalist Nationalism

Transformations of the Thai Border Patrol Police during the Cold War

Sinae HYUN

As of 2015, Thai Border Patrol policemen have three uniforms: the official uniform of the Royal Thai Police, the khaki military fatigue, and a pink polo shirt bearing the royal emblem with a pair of black dress pants. The reason why the Border Patrol Police of Thailand (BPP) has been equipped with three distinct uniforms is well explained in the mission statement of the BPP Special Training Division, which declares the aim of building a “qualified, honorable, and ideal Border Patrol Police that can operate effectively as a military, police, and civilian force”.1 These three roles are the consequence of many transformations undergone during the Cold War, a versatility that has actually facilitated the organization’s persistence well into the post-Cold War period. In a larger sense, the history of the Thai BPP and its civic action programs provides an important case study for understanding the political dynamics of the Cold War, both at the global and at the local level, as well as the political dimension of policing, interlaced with the nation-building projects of indigenous elites.

This essay will investigate two aspects of the BPP’s history, in an attempt to elucidate how Thai elites “indigenized” the global Cold War system and how this branch of the Thai national police, through its nation-building projects, contributed to the rise of the local...

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