Gloss and Dirt: Bangkok Advertising Production, Labor and Value
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CitationIsaacs, Bronwyn. 2020. Gloss and Dirt: Bangkok Advertising Production, Labor and Value. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation examines new intersections of state power, commercial production and aesthetic trends of popular image making in Thailand. Drawing on over twenty months of ethnographic field research between 2014 and 2017 with advertising producers, video editors, actors, artists, and media executives, my project explores the politics of the production of video commercials in a time of increased surveillance and censorship. My dissertation offers a timely anthropological contribution to the study of images, labor, and value by providing insights on new market configurations and political contestation within global media industries. During the period of my research, the conservative political, visual, and narrative messages in Thai advertising became increasingly similar to official military media and propaganda, revealing overlapping class and social hierarchies between market and political spheres. My research also reveals an attempt by existing political and social elites to use the power of visual imagery to reassert existing power inequalities and to silence dissent and deter democratic activity. I offer insight as to how the seemingly meaningless media of the twenty-first century does not occupy an uncontrolled, ungoverned space, but rather a diversity of overlapping spaces that distribute images, sound and information according to highly influential hierarchies of power, influence, and control.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365127
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