Academic Muay Thai Articles in English | Scholarly Essays

In addition to being very committed to training and fighting in Muay Thai as much as I can in Thailand, I also have a deep academic root in me...

In addition to being very committed to training and fighting in Muay Thai as much as I can in Thailand, I also have a deep academic root in me and I revel in exploring abstract concepts and concrete facts that help to better understand one’s place and one’s meaning in the world and the liberties awarded and denied through inclusion and exclusion. Unfortunately there is a dearth of academic study of Muay Thai and even less that is produced in English; the articles that have been written are somewhat dispersed and at times hard to find, so below I’ve compiled a hyper-linked list of articles that I’ve discovered over time on the subject of Muay Thai, as well as on performed Thai Masculinity (which Muay Thai is). If you’ve found other resources please do add them in the comments. Most of these I read 4 years ago when attempting to secure a Fulbright Grant to study Muay Thai pedagogic practices, with some emphasis on gender construction, in Thailand. This is, of course, an evolving list. I post a 1 page excerpt of the article below the title when I’m able to do so, so you can get a feel for the writing style and subject matter. Almost all of these are full article copies.

Pattana Kitiarsa

Anthropologist Pattana Kitiarsa, who passed this last January at the age of 45, was perhaps the most influential academic on Muay Thai in English. Here is the Nation on Pattana and his passing.

Articles

“Of Men and Monks: The Boxing-Buddhism Nexus and the Production of National Manhood in ContemporaryThailand” (full article)

Of Men and Monks - The Boxing-Buddhism and the Production of National Manhood in Contemporary Thailand

 

“Lives of Hunting Dogs’ – Reconceptualizing Thai Masculinities Through an Ethnography of Muay Thai” (full article)

The Lives if Huning Dogs - Reconceptualizing Thai Masculinities

Muay Thai Cinemas and the Burden of Thai Men1

 

additional works of interest:

Beyond Syncretism: Hybridization of Popular Religion in Contemporary Thailand, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 36 (3), pp 461–487 October 2005 (full article).

Beyond Syncretism - Hybridization of Popular Thai Religion in Contemporary Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Vail

Peter Vail produced the only Ph.D English language dissertation on Muay Thai that I know of, a 400 page work Violence and Control: Social and Cultural Dimensions of Muay Thai Boxing (1998) Ithaca, Cor­nell University.

Modern Muay Thai Mythology” – Peter Vail partial PDF Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Vol. 12, No. 2, 1998 – Only the first 11 pages can be seen of this article. An excerpt below: Modern Muay Thai Mythology - Peter Vail - Page 10

 

Muay Thai – Inventing Tradition for a National Symbol – Peter Vail PDF (full article)  – Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, Volume 29, Number 3, November 2014, pp. 509-553 (Article)

Muay Thai - Inventing a History for a National Symbol - Peter Vail

 

 

Thai Masculinity – Positioning Nakmuay Between Monkhood and Nakleng – an excerpt from Peter Vail’s Ph.D. dissertation: Violence and Control: Social and Cultural Dimensions of Muay Thai Boxing (1998)

Thai Masculinity - Postioning Nakmuay Between Monkhood and Nakleng

additional works of interest:

 

Thailand’s Khmer as Invisisble Minority – Language, Ethnicity and Cultural Politics in Northeastern Thailand, Peter Vail (full article)

Thailand's Khmer as Invisisble Minority - Language, Ethnicity and Cultural Politics excerpt

 

Stéphane Rennesson

“Transgender Culture and Thai Boxing.” Stéphane Rennesson (University of Paris X – Nanterre) (full article)

Transgender Culture and Thai Boxing

 

“Thai Boxing – Networking of a Polymorphous Clinch” full PDF – in the anthology of essays Marital Arts as Embodied Knowledge: Asian Traditions in a Transnational World – an excerpt below:

Thai Boxing - Networking of a Polymorphous Clinch 2

Associated Subject Matter

‘Wild West’ Nak Leng and Thai Masculinity Ideals

“Rural Male Leadership, Religion and the Environment in Thailand’s Mid-south, 1920s-1960s” (full article)” by Craig Reynolds (you can download the full copy by just signing in with a social signin)
Rural Male Leadership, Religion and the Environment in Thailand's Mid-south, 1920s-1960s by Craig Reynolds

From Pre-Colonial Androgyny Siam to Hyper-Sexualized Thailand – Genders

Performative Genders and Perverse Desires – A Bio-History of Thailand’s Same Sex and Trans Gender Cultures – Peter Jackson Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, Issue 9, August 2003
Performative Genders, Perverse Desires - A Bio-History of Thailand's Same-Sex and Trans Gender Cultures - Peter Jackson

Female Training/Fighting as Subversive to Habitus in Sport

 

Arguments for the Buddhist Ethics and Moral Guidance in Muay Thai

Dancing Under the Mongkhon: How Thailands National Sport
Can Teach us a Distinctive Moral Code (full article PDF)
by Sarah George

Dancing Under the Mongkhon How Thailands National Sport Can Teach us a Distinctive Moral Code by Sarah George

 

Muay Thai Pedagogic Practices and a Theory of Learning

Development of a Muay Thai Enthusiast: An Interpretation of A.N. Whitehead’s Theory of Learning (full article – 127 pages, Masters Thesis, PDF) – author: Michael Shane Henry

DEVELOPMENT OF A MUAY THAI ENTHUSIAST - An Interpretation of Whitehead's Theory of Learning-w1400

Tony Myers – Scoring Muay Thai

Tony Myers is the foremost authority on scoring in the west “A comparison of the effect of two different juding systems on the technique selection of Muay Thai competitors” (full article) by Tony Myers1, Alan Nevill2, Yahya Al-Nakeeb

The Comparison of Effect of Two Different Judging Systems

by Tony Myers1, Alan Nevill2, Yahya Al-Nakeeb
The Influence of Crowd Noise Upon Judging Decisions in Muay Thai

 

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A 100 lb. (46 kg) female Muay Thai fighter. Originally I trained under Kumron Vaitayanon (Master K) and Kaensak sor. Ploenjit in New Jersey. I then moved to Thailand to train and fight full time in April of 2012, devoting myself to fighting 100 Thai fights, as well as blogging full time. Having surpassed 100, and then 200, becoming the westerner with the most fights in Thailand, in history, my new goal is to fight an impossible 471 times, the historical record for the greatest number of documented professional fights (see western boxer Len Wickwar, circa 1940), and along the way to continue documenting the Muay Thai of Thailand in the Muay Thai Library project: see patreon.com/sylviemuay

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