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Title: Constructing 'legitimacy' : a multimodal case study of Bhikkhuni communities in Thailand
Author: Rasdusdee, Piangchon
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 0285
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2020
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The research explores how the meanings of ‘legitimacy’ are interpreted and constructed by two bhikkhuni communities in Thailand, namely Songdhammakalyani and Nirodharam, through multimodality. Thailand is the biggest (Theravada) Buddhist country, and it is believed that the Buddha had allowed women to be ordained as members of the fourfold Buddhist assemblies in order to sustain Buddhism. However, currently, the existing bhikkhuni are not considered as part of the official Thai monastic order as chiefly demonstrated via the mainstream discourse of Thai religious authorities. This project refers to Multimodal Social Semiotic Analysis (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006), to (i) provide a comparative analysis on how notions of ‘legitimacy’ are interpreted and (re)disseminated; (ii) identify similar and disparate utilisation of employed multimodal resources in the meaning-making of ‘legitimacy’; and (iii) discuss how this study can link the ideas of ‘multimodality’ and ‘legitimacy’ in the localised Thai context. The thesis mainly analyses the multimodal discourse of ‘legitimacy’ constructed via Facebook websites, excluding audience comments, in the three major Buddhist events in 2012, 2014, and 2016 - 2017, in connection with their offline communication consisting of (i) publications, (ii) speeches; and (iii) activities organised and attended by them for the same timeline, along with interview, focus-group discussion and participatory observation. The findings show their dissimilar interpretations of 'legitimacy' in Thai Buddhism and utilisation of semiotic resources in the meaning making of their 'legitimacy'. The project underlines how multimodality helps in manifesting the ‘legitimacy’ of bhikkhuni communities, who are considered as a non-mainstream group, to sustain Buddhism locally.
Supervisor: Seeger, Martin ; Strukov, Vlad Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available