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					CONSUMER CULTURE (3 papers)

The Mobile Phone Culture in Bangkok: The Expression of Modernity and Cultural Changes
Chuensumon Bunnag, Faculty of Business Administration, Mahanakorn University of Technology

       This research examines the mobile phone culture in Bangkok, Thailand, and the way mobile
       phone can be seen to represent an expression of modernity and cultural changes among Thai
       middle class teenagers at large. The idea of modernity has been explored in terms of Tween and
       Teen subcultures’ incorporation of mobile phones to form and create their cultural identities as
       cool and modern in different social settings i.e. homes, schools and department stores. The
       material data probes these social interactions vis-à-vis Thai teenagers, who employ cool brands to
       display their cool selves by using the generations of mobile phones technology to enhance their
       communicative patterns, blurring the boundaries of public and private spaces. The symbolic
       meanings of mobile phones i.e. necessity-luxury and fashion as symbols of modernity bring about
       social and cultural changes, as well as consumerism and leisure activities which can be showed as
       habitus. It further considered Thai teenagers’ social relations alongside advertising
       representations elaborated issues of modernity to show to their consumption patterns and cultural

       My ethnographic data suggests that the distinction Tween (9-14 years old) and Teen (15-18 years
       old) subcultures, and the university students use mobile phones as symbols of modernity to create
       their identities are relevant to fashion and social emulation among family and peer in terms of
       purchases, opinions, and activities. Thai teenagers perceived mobile phones as new of intimacy
       rather than merely as tools of connectivity, indicating social status and serving as means of
       seeking pleasure. New identities in terms of Gig and Deck Neaw subculture are elaborated to
       show how global interacts with local through their subcultures in ways that they incorporate
       fashionable mobile phones to form their new identities and deviant behaviours as resistance to
       traditional norm in Thai society.

“Levi’s Class” in Thai Society
Patama Chancharoensuk, PhD Student, Thammasat University

       Originally, Levi’s jeans were produced for copper miners in California. However, now they are
       perceived as valuable collectable items in Thai society. The jeans’ owners are regarded as people
       having good taste Therefore, this brand of jeans has gone beyond being a mere product. Those
       who collect Levi’s jeans have moved from one level of the community to a superior level.
       According to Pierre Boerdieu, the structure and life pattern of each class underlies the operating
       strategies expressed with different logic. This leads to different levels of realization and actions.
       Living conditions produce levels of mental structure or thoughts which people need to interact
       with immediate habitas. In addition, they give people a chance to access positions of substance
       and power. Hence, a jeans wearer is different from a jeans collector in terms of realization or
       thinking structure.

Japanization in Thailand in the Age of Globalization
Noriyuki Suzuki, University of the Ryukyus

       Globalization has made culture different from what we used to know: culture nowadays is not
       only a way of life in any one society anymore. When the Thai context is considered, Thailand has
       been significantly influenced by Japan through Globalization process. At present, not only
       Japanese economy, but also Japanese culture has started to have a deep impact on Thai society,
and we can arguably witness the process of “Japanization” in Thailand. One clear example is that
young generation usually grows up with Japanese products and cultural products that surround
them. The influence of Japanese products has gradually changed from affecting the way of life to
affecting Thai consumer’s values. The important factors that enable Japanization process in Thai
society are, firstly, the close relationship of Thai and Japanese economies: Thailand has depended
much on Japanese investment. Secondly, Thailand and Japan are Asian countries and have a very
close relationship, including that both have never been colonized by Western countries. Lastly, in
contrast to the past, the Thai consumer’s behavior has changed dramatically to absorb foreign
products, particularly Japanese, more easily. This study will hopefully make a better
understanding of the process of Japanization in Thailand, and prepare for the repercussions of this
process in this age of Globalization.

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