Proceedings of the 19th International Academic Conference, Florence

DEMOCRATIC CULTURE AND THAI SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT: CULTURAL VALUES AND CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE ON INEQUALITY

CHANIDA JITTARUTTHA

Abstract:

Democratic culture is the valuable set of cultural elements produced by members of the democratic movements as part of their effort to create democracy (Holden, 2008). Public administration scholars generally agree that democratic culture is a prerequisite to and a keystone of ‘new democratic governance’, which is now widely accepted as a critical paradigmin public affairs. (Hood, 1991; Rhodes, 1991; Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2004; Bozeman, 2007).As Balkin (2004) stated that democratic culture is about individual liberty as well as collective self- governance; it concerns each individual's ability to participate in the production and distribution of culture on democracy.This article aimed to study the level of democratic culture composed in three components, affecting to Thai societal development forwarded on three stages that were perceived by Thai people. It also investigates barriers to democratic culture and to provide determining indicators, which can promote strong democratic culture and advanced democracy among public sphere. Both questionnaires and interview schedule were synthesized from relevant literatures to explore a field. After data collecting, findings are as follows: (a) citizen perception on both democratic cultureand Thai societal development are of at high level (mean value 3.51 and 3.64), (b) relationship between democratic culture and Thai societal development were negatively correlated in one way direction at low level (r=.599),(c) apparent values and behaviors of democratic perceived culture has disparity from those expected ones in some dimensions, (d) major barriers to democratic culture derived from Thai’s culture in historical sociology dimension:inequality rooted upon nepotism, patronage or spoil system, high power distance, pyramid scheme, (e) obstructions to Thai societal development derived from corruption, distrust culture,bureaucracy and parliament intervention, undemocratic and unethical leaders, autocratic rule, and law enforcement deficiency, and (f) alignments or indicators to cultivate democratic culture influencing to Thai societal development are democratic values, empower citizen, democratic and ethical leaders, efficient bureaucracy, ideologies and professionalism of public servant, development of citizen’ s knowledge, equality of law enforcement, participative management, ethics and governance in society, human capital development and well- being of citizen. The article, although,postulates sufficient evidence to conclude that citizen perception on democratic culture is at high level and highlights where existing measures match the theories, but also shows a number of “weak democratic culture” and barricades of democratization especially over the content of democratic beliefs correlated with societal development and possible alignments for reconstructing democratic culture among Thai citizen.

Keywords: Democratic Culture, Democracy, Societal Development

DOI: 10.20472/IAC.2015.019.064

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