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Title: Journey to modern Thailand : Westernisation, television advertising and tensions in everyday life.
Author: Hinviman, Somsuk.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3578 9935
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis examines how and why Thai advertising 'Westernises'. Drawing on a literature from the theoretical fields of globalisation, consumer culture and advertising, it interrogates the 'Westernisation' process across the three communicative moments of advertising: production, text and consumption. The research project argues first that Thailand's society, culture and media have historically evolved in relation to both the processes of 'W esternisation' and 'Thainisation', and ┬Ěsecond that class, mapped onto an 'urban' and 'rural' divide, is a key factor in shaping the articulations of 'Western' and 'Thai' cultures in contemporary Thai society. The thesis suggests that advertising represents and manages social change by looking 'back to the future'. As 'apostles of bourgeois modernity', the adverts 'look forward', mythifying modem life as 'future-oriented' and 'developed'. But at the same time, ads 'look backward', offering a 'nostalgic' presentation of what is lost in modem society -- the 'undeveloped' rural which is kept intact rather than modernised. Created by practitioners who identify themselves as 'Thai cosmopolitans', they and their urban audiences use 'Westernisation' to distinguish themselves from the rural peasantry: they set up a symbolic frontier between 'Us' and 'Them'. In contrast, in response to ads, rural people sceptically observe social change and the more 'Western' modem life which they wish to have; however, this is also a rationalisation of what they cannot (yet) have. The thesis concludes that in the 'journey to modem Thailand', although 'Western modernisation' is (re)defmed as 'social development' radiating outward from the metropolitan centre, culturally it is marked by an ambivalent relation to Thai traditional values and to the rural. The latter continue to constitute a necessary counter-pointing narrative of 'W esternisation' within advertising and the self-identity of the Thai middle classes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Thai culture; Mass media; Middle class Literature Mass media Performing arts Sociology Human services