Crafting nationalist consumption: Public Relations and the Thai Textile Movement under the People’s Party, 1932 – 1945

Matthew Phillips

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2 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Following the revolution of 1932 that ended absolute monarchy in Siam, a new government came into power that sought to legitimise its rule by encouraging mass identification with the state. Practically, the expansion of a wage economy and the development of a state-led education system were seen by government officials as central to promoting a sense of citizenship to as yet disinterested rural communities. Throughout its first decade in power, the government thus set up projects to provide such groups with skills that might contribute to their overall material advancement. Following the lead of similar endeavours, particularly in India, one of the principal ways in which they would do this was through the production and bringing to market of cotton textiles. However, with foreign imports both superior in quality and cheaper than anything produced internally, the state struggled to establish a public relations message that might convince consumers to purchase Thai-produced textiles. As a result of specific limitations, rooted in Thailand’s ambiguous status globally, this meant that Thai leaders struggled to replicate the success of such movements elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-691
Number of pages19
JournalSouth East Asia Research
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Keywords

  • Thailand
  • Nationalism
  • Consumerism
  • Textiles

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