‘As if it was something spoken by a friend’: Political Public Relations and Digital Vote-canvassing Networks via Facebook during the 2013 Bangkok Gubernatorial Election Campaign

Pratheepwatanawong, Mukda (2017) ‘As if it was something spoken by a friend’: Political Public Relations and Digital Vote-canvassing Networks via Facebook during the 2013 Bangkok Gubernatorial Election Campaign. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Social networking sites (SNSs) are an emerging channel of political mediation in Thailand for political figures to establish and develop their relationships with Thai citizens. Through focusing on the online political public relations work by candidates (and their teams) in the 2013 Bangkok gubernatorial election campaign, this thesis contributes a Thai perspective and experience to the growing literature on the use of SNSs globally in election campaigning.

This research utilises multimodal textual analysis and interviews with Thai politicians, candidates and public relations personnel to explore the management of candidates’ images on Facebook via photographs, text and interactions, the management relationship between candidates and public relations personnel and citizens, the dynamics of what can be understood as ‘digital vote-canvassing networks’, and the various associated possibilities and challenges of using SNSs to contest for political power in the Thai context.

This thesis finds that the political public relations work carried out via Facebook during the 2013 election campaign constituted a new and complex process of managing content and of managing human resources and relationships. The construction of candidates’ political images integrated existing Thai archetypes and connotations with more global images and strategies. The publication of campaign content on Facebook over the entire election campaign was managed to facilitate followers’ interpretations of the candidates’ campaigns. Election campaigns on Facebook developed digital vote-canvassing networks as candidates and their teams used different tactics to engage, interact with and manage citizens, as well as attempt to maximise the ‘spreadability’ of their content and thus extend their reach. As candidates campaigned on Facebook under election campaign rules not defined particularly for Facebook, the decentralisation of interaction among Facebook users was a major concern in controlling their election campaign on Facebook.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Houghton, Tessa
Connors, Michael
Keywords: electoral campaigning, Bangkok Gubernatorial election, digital vote-canvassing networks, online political public relations, social networking sites, Facebook
Subjects: J Political science > JF Political institutions (General)
Faculties/Schools: UNNC Ningbo, China Campus > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of International Communications
UNMC Malaysia Campus > Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Item ID: 39368
Depositing User: PRATHEEPWATANAWONG, MUKDA
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2018 11:47
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2018 17:30
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/39368

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