restricted access 8. Experiments with Fate: Buddhist Morality and Human Rights in Thailand

This chapter considers the emergence of human rights in Thailand through the trope of the eventedness of the everyday, arguing that we may profitably understand this emergence as a turning back to the ordinary in novel ways rather than as the global subsuming the local. Approaching human rights as an event in Thai political and moral life allows us to see how they occasion a re-contextualization of debates within Buddhist morality. Social actors have taken human rights to offer an opportunity to challenge conservative views on Buddhism that sustain social stratification with egalitarian visions of Buddhism. This chapter argues, therefore, for an understanding of the specificities of human rights as an emergent event in Thailand to see how their articulation with and through Buddhist morality provided resources not for a transformation of Thai morality, under the model of escape, transcendence or rupture, but for its transfiguration.