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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Volume 2014, Issue 199


Political semiotics of national campaign posters and pictorial representation: Thailand's 2011 general elections

William J. Jones
Published Online: 2014-04-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0128


The 2011 Thai general election was seen by many Thai political analysts as a watershed moment that would hopefully be the tipping point of socio-political reconciliation in the drawn out political struggle that has characterized Thai politics since 2005. The highly contested nature of Thai politics becomes salient when viewing campaign posters pictorial and linguistic content. The most controversial of which was the ``Vote No'' campaign taken on by the For Heaven and Earth Party, which is a political party nominally associated with Thailand's conservative People's Alliance for Democracy. This study seeks to unwrap and decode the semiotics of this party's political campaign posters in Thailand's 2011 general election by providing cultural context to the application of multimodal discourse analysis and critical semiotics framework. I will argue that the ``Vote No'' campaign and its campaign posters depicting politicians as animals is a continuing political discourse of conservative Buddhist philosophers/scholars that reaches back to the 1980s. Furthermore, the ``Vote No'' campaign seeks to create dissonance and reinstate conservative rule via monarchial and/or military intervention by creating political deadlock thereby undermining democratic rights and rule by the exercising of democratic rights of voting, thus disenfranchising citizens by their own hand.

Keywords: political semiotics; Thailand election; Thailand politics; campaign posters Thailand; election posters

About the article

William J. Jones

William J. Jones (b. 1978) is a lecturer at Mahidol University International College 〈william.jon@mahidol.ac.th〉. His research interests include European integration, Southeast Asian integration, and contemporary Thai politics. His publications include ``European Union soft power: Cultural diplomacy and higher education in Southeast Asia'' (2011); and ``The ASEAN economic community and new regionalism: A neorealist analysis.''

Published Online: 2014-04-12

Published in Print: 2014-04-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2014, Issue 199, Pages 269–296, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0128.

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©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

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