Popular television and the construction of contemporary Thai cultural identity

Boonpap, Thitinan (2007) Popular television and the construction of contemporary Thai cultural identity. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

Television in Thailand, as in many nations, can be regarded as an essential form of popular media. Although television plays an important role within and across all levels of society, the relationship between television and Thai cultural identity is a problematic and ambiguous one; it is also a subject of study often neglected or not taken seriously enough in Thailand. This research project, "Popular Television and the Construction of Contemporary Thai Cultural Identity', is an exploration into the relationship between television and the formation of contemporary Thai cultural identity. It draws together media and cultural studies and the study of television in contemporary Thailand. Through interviews with key media practitioners and an analysis of popular television programmes (such as the controversial game show 'The Weakest Link', popular dramas, youth programmes, and broadcasts of national rituals), the research has found that television plays a prominent role in Thai cultural identity formation. One existing line of argument is that Thai cultural identity in the era of globalisation has been inevitably influenced by western homogenisation, as is suggested by the thesis of Cultural Imperialism. Yet on the other hand, globalisation has played a multi-faceted role in creating the sense of Nationalism which has led to the strengthening of Thai traditional identity, evidence of which can be seen in the Thai government's use of television to support Thai tradition and values. In this way, television has played a unifying role in the formation of Thai cultural identity. Moreover, globalisation, as a new global-local articulation, has also created a new kind of cultural hybridity which is apparent in the styles, forms, and language usage in certain youth programmes. In addition to the theoretical analyses, focus-group discussions and in-depth interviews have been conducted in order to examine the 'cultural hybridity' of 'mixed-race' youngsters in Thailand, and the roles television has played in the formation of their identity. The research has further found that 'mixed-race' youngsters (`third-culture kids' or TCKs) in Thailand have learnt to 'translate' themselves within the different cultures. And television, in some way, has helped them make sense of, and negotiate between, the different cultures they are living in.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Includes DVD.
Subjects: P300 Media studies
P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Related URLs:
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2010 14:10
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2017 04:31
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1919

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