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Nation branding and political legitimacy in non-democratic regimes: re-branding post-coup Thailand

Desatová, Petra (2018) Nation branding and political legitimacy in non-democratic regimes: re-branding post-coup Thailand. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This thesis is about nation branding, a relatively recent approach to national reputation management that has gained much popularity worldwide. Many countries have invested much time, effort and financial resources into re-defining their external images and internal identities through nation branding. The concept itself has enjoyed ample academic attention, especially by scholars in the disciplines of business and urban geography studies. As a result, a dominant view of nation branding has formed that nation branding is an externally-oriented, business-derived, and somewhat superficial undertaking aimed at increasing the country’s competitive advantage in the global marketplace. In this thesis, I challenge this dominant view by examining how nation branding operates in a non-democratic context on the example of post-2014 military-ruled Thailand. I argue that nation branding is a strategy for political legitimation that is primarily aimed at changing the social attitudes and behaviours of the nation’s citizens through the creation and dissemination of strategic national myths. My overall objective is to provide a holistic yet critical account of nation branding as a complex political phenomenon that can provide a useful methodological framework for future comparative studies of nation branding in non-democratic contexts. Drawing on empirical data generated through my field research activities between June and November 2016, the core chapters of this thesis analyse the use of nation branding in military-ruled Thailand between 22 May 2014 and 1 December 2016. They examine externally- and internally-focused nation branding campaigns and activities across multiple sectors, both public and private, and provide an account of public reactions to a select number of these efforts. The findings in the core chapters show that Thailand’s post-coup nation branding was deployed to help legitimise the country’s highly conservative, royalist political order. As such, it was sustained by domestic power politics rather than the economic logic of liberal capitalism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: nation branding, Thai politics, non-democratic regimes, military, strategic national myths
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Politics & International Studies (POLIS) (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ms Petra Desatová
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2019 12:59
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2019 12:59
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23319

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