Revisiting Second Image Reversed: Lessons from Turkey and Thailand


  •  I would like to thank Duncan McCargo for his invaluable comments and suggestions on sections dealing with Thailand. I am also grateful to all of the participants of PONARS Eurasia Bishkek workshop for their excellent questions and suggestions about this article, but most notably my discussants Yoshika M. Herrera and Vladimir Gelman for their detailed comments. Previous drafts were also presented at Washington & Lee University Economics Department Research Colloquium and American Political Science Association Annual Convention, and I benefited greatly from feedback received in those venues. Research on this paper was made possible partly by a Lenfest summer research grant, and I would like to thank both the Lenfest family and the Washington & Lee University for their generosity. Finally, I am grateful to the anonymous reviewers and the ISQ editorial staff for their assistance on the paper. This article does not reflect the views of Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress where I have been a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow during the 2012–3 academic year.


This article draws attention to some surprising similarities between the recent political trajectories of Turkey and Thailand in order to argue that international norms strongly shape domestic cleavage formations. The timing and the manner of incorporation of particular states into the international system affects not only their political and economic development, but also the way various domestic groups see their mission, their identity, and their opposition. In both Turkey and Thailand, what development has brought is neither the opposition between traditional status groups and the market generated social forces, nor the tradition/religion-based opposition to modernization and democracy that is typically assumed to mark developing societies. What we find in both cases instead is a modernization-generated statist/bureaucratic social middle class that justifies its skepticism of democratization on the basis of norms upheld by the international society itself.