Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Hyperbolic heritage : bourgeois spectatorship and contemporary Thai cinema
Author: Ingawanij, May Adadol
ISNI:       0000 0003 7662 9078
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The thesis traces the construction of bourgeois spectatorship in contemporary Thai cinema. Since the late 1990s, industrial Thai cinema has attempted to discard its old identity as a plebeian form of mass culture to claim a place in the prestigious bourgeois public sphere. Popular, provincial-identified audiences were left behind with the emergence of the urban multiplex and as the industry adopted the high concept mode of film production and promotion. Thai national cinema aspires to connote Thai difference from the West, while also attaining an accepted ‘universal’ (sakon) standard of filmic quality. Contemporary heritage films inscribe the figure of the bourgeois spectator through a hyperbolic rhetoric of international comparability and ‘post-hypernationalist’ sentiments. Textually, these films display the aesthetic idiom of the nostalgia film, emphasising the Thai attainment of an imputed sakon film aesthetic. Thus, it is the sight of aesthetic rather than political Thainess that is inscribed into this form of spectatorship, as it promises the thrill of ‘go inter’ [going international]. Thai bourgeois spectatorship is determined across textual and extratextual realms. While the urban multiplex and the Bangkok International Film Festival are emblematic of the extratextual, on a textual level, the previously popular teen cinema was disavowed to assert a mature thai sakon [Thai (yet) universal] cultural sphere. Recently a small number of Thai films have entered international circulation, either as part of the emergent terrain of transnational blockbuster world cinema, or as a new addition to its modernist enclave. When these different interests are mediated back into the Thai bourgeois public sphere, and reshaped by the sensibility of bourgeois narcissism, they come to signify the enraptured eyes of the world on ‘world-class Thainess’. This projection has been growing in register and scale as the belief in wealth through neo-liberal globalisation was destabilised by the Asian economic crisis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available