When Queer Emotions Meet the Constitutional Promise: Dystopian Constitutionalism in Thai Popular Culture

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Paweenwat Thongprasop
Papawin Pechnil


In classical constitutionalism, constitutional courts are dedicated guardians of the law, acting to promote fundamental rights. However, during an anticipated transition to democracy after the 2019 general election, substantial changes occurred in the pattern of judgments by the Constitutional Court of the Kingdom of Thailand (CC). These happened amidst popular demand for a democratic regime based on the rule of law. By squeezing heteronormative and royalist-nationalist ideologies into its legal reasoning, the CC has violated the constitutional rights of Thai citizenry and created a normative cosmos in which all forms of otherness are disregarded.

This article reads a utopian fantasy of Thainess in the Constitutional Court Decisions Nos. 19/2564 and 20/2564 in tandem with selected popular cultural texts on concepts of dystopian constitutionalism and queer jurisprudence. The goal is to analyze how disenfranchised voices neglected by the Court’s metanarrative may express queer negative emotions such as anger and fear, disclose the downside of constitutional promise, and offer playful readings of constitutional ideas and practices as Thailand struggles to attain the popular definition of constitutionalism.

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