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Siam's New DetectivesVisualizing Crime and Conspiracy in Modern Thailand$
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Samson W. Lim

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824855253

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824855253.001.0001

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date: 19 November 2017

Kingdom of Crime

Kingdom of Crime

Chapter:
(p.10) 1 Kingdom of Crime
Source:
Siam's New Detectives
Author(s):

Samson Lim

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824855253.003.0002

Siam in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was a rapidly changing place, one seemingly besieged with crime. Based on newspaper reports, archival sources, the writings of foreign visitors to Siam, and a synthesis of secondary sources this chapter shows how the government reacted to the crime problem by adopting what is now known as the police, an administrative innovation that swept the globe beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. The move towards a standing, professional police force with detective responsibilities, as opposed to ad-hoc, locally based security forces or village watches, took place in part because Thai elites and their foreign advisors saw the police and its (visual) practices as scientific, modern, and therefore superior. More importantly, it set the stage for lasting changes in the countries visual culture.

Keywords:   Police, constabulary, gendarmerie, crime, twentieth century Siam, detectives

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