日本からみた"Thailand: A Loosely Structured Social System" : 日本学と東南アジア学の接点を求めて(<特集>故水野浩一教授を偲んで)
- A Japanese Comment on "Thailand: A Loosely Structured Social System" from the Viewpoint of Historical Anthropology(<Special Issue>In Memory of the Late Prof. Koichi Mizuno)
Much discussion of Thai society has been generated by John F. Embree's famous and classic article entitled "Thailand : A Loosely Structured Social System, " published in 1950. The discussion, however, has tended to ignore the ecological and historical aspects of the question. Furthermore, little attention has been paid to the 'tightly structured social system' of Japan, although Embree compared 'loosely structured' Thai society with the 'tightly structured society' of Japan in his original discussion. Here, I propose that Japanese society is fundamentally rather 'loosely structured, ' based on its bilateral kinship system and the country's favourable ecological conditions. It appears 'tightly structured' only because the leaders of the society have made efforts to 'tighten' the 'loosely structured social system' of Japan by, for example, emulating some of the social disciplines of the Chinese continent in order to build a 'state' in the islands. Thus, it is incorrect to juxtapose Japanese and Thai societies without referring to their historical backgrounds. The same argument, of course, would hold for the comparison of other societies.
東南アジア研究 18 (2), 333-344, 1980-09