Humor in Thai Political Cartoons Published During the 2013-14 Thai Political Crisis


Thailand in 2013-14 is a period of political instability. The protest organized by PDRC is one of the world's largest political protests. The movement was an anti Thaksin cronyism effort to expel Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government. Eighty-seven political cartoons during the period were collected from four newspapers: Bangkok Post, The Nation, Thai Rath, and Daily News. This study aims to investigate 1) how political cartoonists create humor in their cartoons; 2) what kind of humor political cartoonists used in their cartoons; and 3) what are the differences between political cartoons published in Thai and English newspapers. The analysis reveals that most of the cartoons published are one-framed cartoons. Cartoonists create humor by using image and text whose meanings so closely related and interdependent that none of the elements can be understood in isolation. Some of the cartoons do not contain humor. On the other hand, most multi-framed cartoons contain dialogues between two characters that generate humor by using incongruity and ambiguity that cause surprise, as well as flouting maxims of Cooperative Principle. There are two main differences between political cartoons published in English and Thai newspapers: 1) most English cartoons are one-framed while Thai cartoons are multi-framed; and 2) English cartoons present simple images and readers need only a little background knowledge on Thai politics to understand them, while Thai cartoons present complex ideas that need a great deal of background knowledge to understand them.

Author Information
Aram Iamlaor, National Institute of Development Administration, Thailand
Savitri Gadavanij, National Institute of Development Administration, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2017
Stream: Newspapers & Magazines as Print/Digital Media

This paper is part of the MediAsia2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon