The Construction of Knowledge on Sino - Thai Relations and the Application of Frontier Approach to the Studies of Sino-Thai Relations through the Exploration of Xie Yuanzhang’s (Cheah Yanchong) Life

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Sittithep Eaksittipong

Abstract

This research reviews the construction of knowledge on Sino -Thai diplomatic relations in Thai academia and proposes a novel     approach in exploring the relations. It was found that previous studies on Sino - Thai diplomatic relations conducted by Thai scholars mostly reproduce single perspective emphasizing political ties, particularly the negotiation of national interests between Thailand and China and the international context conditioning such negotiations. The studies use mainstream political science, underpinned by the exploration of      diplomatic history in a narrow sense based on “state” as the most  important actor, while commoners, especially the Thai of Chinese   descent, who have indispensable roles in facilitating changes and    establishing linkages between the two countries are ignored. To bring to light the roles of commoners, this research suggests the implication of the frontier approach, using as a case study the life and works of Xie Yuanzhang (Yanyong Jiranakorn or Cheah Yanchong), a distinguished Thai scholar of Chinese descent, in the context of changing Sino - Thai relations.

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