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Title: Networks of Vote-Canvassers in Thai Elections: Informal Power and Money Politics
Author: Chattharakul, Anyarat
ISNI:       0000 0001 3530 415X
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is an 'in-depth study of Thai electoral campaigning in the period following the 1997 constitutional reforms. Based on extensive participant observation field research, it provides a critical investigation in'to the informal vote-canvasser networks of a major political party's parliamentary candidate in a suburban constituency during the 2005 general elections. The .centraf concern of the thesis is to examine the extent to which old style vote-canvasser networks (based on local informal power and 'money) were transformed into modem political marketing in the Thaksin Shinawatra period (200J-:.2006). The' thesis problematises Anek Laothamatas' influential conception of Thailand as 'two democracies', in which Thai voters are divided into two groups with contrasting perceptions of elections and democracy: middle class, 'modem' and urban voters versus '. ' patronage-ridden, 'traditional' and rural voters. Here, a rich empirical case study demonstrates that Anek's dichotomy is unduly simplistic. Thai urban voters are shown to be more complex and diverse; and certainly not a's politically sophisticated as Anek suggests. Previous studies of Thai electoral politics have ~iewed vote-canvassers through the narrow lens of 'vote-buying', but have consistently' failed to elucidate the complexity and diversity of vote-canvasser networks. In the first ever close study of the internal mechanisms of an individual Thai election campaign, this thesis reveals that vote-canvasser networks are underpinned by long-term dyadic relationships, both hierarchical and horizontal, between the candidate, multi-level vote-canvassers, and voters. These networks continue to be the most important factor in winning elections in either rural or urban constituencies. While the techniques of modem political introduced by Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai Party have attracted considerable attention~ tneir impact is less than many practitioners and academics have supposed. This thesis argues that instead of a linear shift toward a consistently 'modem' model of election campaigning, Thailand has developed, a complex and hybridised form of electioneering that effectively blends old-style vote-canvasser networks with 'certain elements ofpolitical marketing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available