Grassroot NGOs and Political Reform in Thailand: Democracy behind Civil Society

Naruemon Thabchumpon


This article argues that behind the concept of civil society is a
real opportunity for populist forces to drive democracy forward.
In Thailand, the participatory role of non-governmental
organisations, particularly at grassroots level, is very important.
By advocating people's participation and empowerment,
grassroots NGOs may be in a position to expand
notions of democracy, from mere parliamentarism to genuine
participatory democracy. In the Thai case, however, success
will depend upon whether the grassroots non-governmental
organisations (GNGOs) are able to establish a linkage
between 'elite-urban' and 'rural-popular' elements in Thai
civil society. The key question is whether these organisations
are able to democratise Thai civil society and create an
enhanced form of participatory democracy.

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Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies
ISSN (print): 1395-4199, ISSN (online): 2246-2163

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