Thomas Hobbes’ Concept of Sovereignty and its Relevance for Thailand and ASEAN


  • Napassorn Jintawiroj Chanpradab Napassorn Jintawiroj Chanpradab, is finishing her Ph.D. in philosophy at Assumption University of Thailand.
  • Veerachart Nimanong


The paper’s objective is to analyze the concept of sovereignty in political philosophy with special reference to Thomas Hobbes for the purpose of understanding the changes facing Thai sovereignty from the origin of the modern state to the present time. Especially relevant is Hobbes’ distinction between internal and external sovereignty. Internal sovereignty can be used to understand the factionalism in Thai society resulting to the escalation of tensions since 2005. For the security of state, the Thai military staged a coup and has taken absolute power since 2014. External sovereignty can be used to understand the relation of the Thai state and the power of the ASEAN Community. This can itself be understood as a social contract for the maintenance of security the in the same manner that Hobbes describes in state formation. This phenomenon results from the changing international system under globalization.