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Being Thai: a narrow identity in a wide world


Farrelly, N, Being Thai: a narrow identity in a wide world, Southeast Asian Affairs pp. 331-344. ISSN 0377-5437 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute

DOI: doi:10.1355/9789814695671-023


Being Special

In January 2015 the Tourism Authority of Thailand launched its "Discover Thainess" campaign. In a country where travel and tourism support a significant fraction of the population, and directly contribute 8.6 per cent of GDP, the country’s good image is a tremendous asset.1 This campaign is designed to highlight the "unique" qualities of the kingdom at a time when its international reputation has been buffeted by domestic political upheavals. With two military coups in the past decade, and an economy that has fallen behind the impressive growth rates elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Thailand has looked to trade on its cultural endowments. Images of traditional dancers, colourful hill tribes and distinctive cuisine have led the push for visitors to "Discover Thainess". This foreigner focused marketing initiative matches an internal drive that encourages the Thai people to defend their heritage. These are both politically charged efforts. The cultural politics of "Thainess" has surged since General Prayuth Chan-ocha and his junta, known as the National Council for Peace and Order, seized power.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Thainess, dictatorship
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Government and politics of Asia and the Pacific
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:International relations
Objective Field:International political economy (excl. international trade)
UTAS Author:Farrelly, N (Professor Nicholas Farrelly)
ID Code:145230
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2021-07-12
Last Modified:2021-09-21

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