Hybrid Event: Knowledge Organizations in the Thai Tobacco Control Movement

Building National Reputation at Arms’ Length from the State: The Role of Autonomous Knowledge Organizations in Policy Development in Thailand 

Scholars have frequently understood development as a process that is either “market-led” or “state-led,” with the industrial development of classic developmental states, like Japan, led by a guiding state agency, like Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry. In Thailand, however, rather than development being state- or market-led, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and autonomous parastatal organizations serve as important “knowledge organizations” that orbit around a pilot agency concerned not with economic development, but social development—the Ministry of Public Health. These knowledge organizations make important technical contributions to national policy successes, while also playing important roles cementing the country’s reputation abroad. This talk will focus on the role played by knowledge organizations in the field of public health in Thailand, focusing on the case of tobacco control.

Key speaker:

Joseph Harris is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Boston University and the author of Achieving Access: Professional Movements and the Politics of Health Universalism (Cornell University Press, 2017). He received his doctorate in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and two Fulbright scholarships for his research on the politics of health policy in Thailand.