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|The discursive construction of nostalgic Thai identity through Thai television programmes
|Global pop culture and media consumption have influenced contemporary Thai society and its traditionally perceived national culture and heritage. Such cultural impacts are not only from the global trends of Western cultures, but also from the more local influential Asian cultures, such as South Korean and Japanese. In response to this, within a general strategy, Thai television has been utilised as a principal source for promoting a projected contemporary Thai cultural identity. This study examines the discursive construction of nostalgic Thai identity in popular television variety shows whereby a form of integrative cultural identity for the country is envisaged. The research covers processes of production and consumption of certain television texts to provide an understanding of the ways in which this Thai identity is constructed, represented and perceived. It intends: a. to analyse the textual features of the shows (including visuals, language, design, narrative etc.); b. to examine the perspectives of the key figures in the television industry; and c. to analyse and compare the viewership’s perceptions of Thai identity representations in the shows in relations to their own lifeworlds. The study adopts qualitative research methods: multimodal discourse analysis, in-depth interviews with key figures in the television industry, as well as focus groups with various viewerships. The study finds that the construction of nostalgia around the perception of Thainess has been at the centre of these particular identity discourses which promote the country’s perceived traditional culture and heritage as core identity markers. In this way, the Thai representation in the shows is constructed in line with the reflective nostalgia which focuses on reflecting the nation’s past and culture, rather than a restorative nostalgia which relates to total restoration of national past/symbols i.e. an uncompromising return to “origin”. In addition to the cultural concerns of the text producers, the television shows have actively been substantiating this notion of Thai identity in line with the government’s cultural policy, which envisages contemporary Thai identity as a form of inclusive collective identity incorporating modernism as well as traditionalism, rather than a form of openly nationalistic and exclusionary identity. This representation of Thai identity both arises from and is compatible with the country’s socio-cultural and historical circumstances as a way to underpin the maintenance of the traditionality/distinctiveness of Thai culture, while simultaneously integrating a form of multiculturalism. The inclusive vision of Thai identity ii construction/representation can also be supportive of the international policies of cooperation and relationships between Thailand and other (neighbouring) countries
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|School of Arts and Cultures
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|Lekngam S 2019.pdf
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