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Prasertsud, Kusuma (1998) Luang Vichitr Vadakarn: The use of theatre for propaganda. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis focuses on the use of drama by Luang Vichitr Vadakam (1898-1962) for nationalist propaganda purposes in Thailand. Luang Vichitr is known to have been one of the most influential figures in recent Thai history and the mastermind behind the shaping and implementation of the nationalist policies of Phibun Songkhram and Sarit Thanarat. His plays and songs were loaded with patriotic themes, instilling nationalist feelings in the Thai people, successfially conveying ideas about the origin of the Thai race, and forming a social and moral code. His plays have been analysed in order to understand why they were so popular and how they have influenced the Thai people's concept of art, culture, history and national identity. Until the student-led revolution in 1973, Luang Vichitr's historiography dominated the field of history. Since then, he and his works have become the subject of extensive scrutiny by many Thai and foreign scholars. The purpose of this thesis is to further analyse his ideas, to highlight how central his role was in shaping the thinking of the military dictators that would subsequently hold power and to investigate how he exploited theatre and Thai history to influence the audience. The thesis begins with a detailed analysis of Luang Vichitr's early life and works. This is followed by a discussion of other important background information such as the changing role of theatre, the coup in 1932, Luang Vichitr's concept of "human revolution", the role of the Publicity Bureau and the establishment of the Drama and Music School under Luang Vichitr's directorship. The remaining four chapters analyse the 27 plays produced by Luang Vichitr between 1934 and 1957. The conclusions summarise the dissertation and assert that Luang Vichitr's ability to produce propaganda plays which were popular with their audience was of central importance for indoctrinating them with his ideas. Even one hundred years after his birth, the impact of Luang Vichitr's legacy on modem Thai society can still be observed, and this thesis aims to increase the understanding of Luang Vichitr's ideas, his manipulation of Thai history and the significance of his plays for disseminating his nationalist propaganda.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:16

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