Media Portrayals of Aging Society in Thailand


Thailand, like many countries, is moving toward an aging society. Ministry of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand statistics show that by the next decade people aged over 60 will make up 20 percent of the population, while people aged 65 and above will account for 14 percent. Although these numbers might initially appear worrying, much research around attitudes of Thai senior citizens and people’s perception of an aging population have shown optimistic views towards the future of an aging Thai society. Nonetheless, the media representation of the elderly in Thailand is still problematic. This paper, through an analysis of popular media texts and dialogues with some emerging elderly Thai travel bloggers, aims to explore the role of the media in portraying an image of Thai senior citizens and their own views of this representation. The study suggests that while in popular media like television – and drama programs in particular – elderly actors are generally employed in supporting roles and portrayed in flat, two-dimensional good or bad character types, social media, on the other hand, which has gained popularity among the Thai elderly, has provided them a space through which to express their identities and project their own selves. A pertinent example is that of the recent emergence of elderly female bloggers sharing their own backpacking-style journeys via social media platforms: this has prompted constructive discussions among the public, allowing social media to be considered as a venue to reflect positive cultural attitudes towards old age in Thailand.

Author Information
Thitinan Boonpap Common, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: EuroMedia2018
Stream: Mass Communication

This paper is part of the EuroMedia2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon