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The politics of representations : Thai migrant women's negotiation of identity.

Phiphitkul, Wilasinee (2001) The politics of representations : Thai migrant women's negotiation of identity. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86219) (KAR id:86219)


The notion that popular culture, such as television programmes, opens a space for women resistance to the dominant cultural discourse is remarkably held by feminist and cultural theorists. However, few considerations have been given to the specific group of women audiences who are in the margin of society in terms of class, ethnicity and gender. This thesis explores the kinds of subversive meanings Thai migrant women of the urban poor construct and deconstruct from the dominant representations in television programmes; and how the women empower their negotiation discourse in order to define their preferred identities that connect to their ethnic culture and their everyday lives in urban slum culture. Thirty-four women living in Klongtoey slum, the biggest slum in Bangkok, Thailand, who migrated from the Northeast, the poorest region of the country, are the main population of study in this thesis. It investigates this through both textual and reception analyses with the theoretical framework of dominant representations and identity emphasising class, ethnicity, and gender. To understand the negotiation and construction of identity, the method of ethnographic audience analysis is used in order to see this through the women's own experiences. This study also aims to assert the distinctive concept of ethnography within the Thai media academy which draws heavily on content analysis or quantitative audience analysis, while it remains ignorant of the 'real' audiences of marginalized groups. Chapters One, Two and Three seek to locate the Klongtoey women's identities and their dominant representations in the various approaches to the study of the politics of representation. Chapter Four provides the research methods and examines how the transformation between rural and urban culture has affected the women's identities. Chapter Five discusses the patterns of media consumption and the construction of meanings within the women's contexts. Chapters Six and Seven analyse in more detail the ways the representations of class, ethnicity and gender are decoded and negotiated by the Klongtoey women and how this negotiation process reflects the women's formation of identities. Chapter Eight conceptualises the negotiation strategies that the women employ in the construction of their preferred identities and concludes with a discussion of how this study contributes to theorising on the politics of representation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86219
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Television programmes; Gender; Women audiences
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:35 UTC
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2021 11:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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