Forestry by Whom: Knowledge, Power, and the Rise of Forest Administration in Siam, 1873–1903

Posted: 23 Feb 2022

Date Written: November 5, 2021

Abstract

The growth of teak trade in the North since the mid-nineteenth century not only offered
Siam a new source of revenue but also forced the fledging nation state to reconfigure a new
form of knowledge-power relationship. Focusing on the role of knowledge in modern
bureaucracy, this paper reconstructs the history of forest administration in Siam and the rise of
the Royal Forest Department during the 1890s and the 1900s. Through a close reading of
reports and correspondence related to Siam’s forest management, this study draws connections
between the formation of forestry as a specialized field and the expansion of Siamese power
into the North. Then, building on the critical scholarship on expertise, the significance (or
insignificance) of forest knowledge was evaluated and reflected upon the nature of the expertise
in Siam at the turn of the twentieth century.

Suggested Citation

Sireerat, Tinakrit, Forestry by Whom: Knowledge, Power, and the Rise of Forest Administration in Siam, 1873–1903 (November 5, 2021). Rian Thai International Journal of Thai Studies, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3957377

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