The Constructed Meaning of Thai Laborer by the State


Most studies on labor control in Thailand primarily focus on the state's oppressive and suppressive actions against the labor movement. These studies examine how the state utilizes violence and direct power to render laborers powerless in bargaining. However, a significant and often overlooked question seeks to explain why laborers are considered to have a low social status in Thai society and why the middle class lacks pity or sympathy for them. This study explores the dynamics of pity and sympathy among the middle class towards laborers when the state suppresses them. Despite feeling pity, the middle class still tends to align with the state due to the state's construction of meaning regarding laborers. The state portrays laborers as individuals with low education and knowledge, associating labor movements with potential danger. The state shapes the perception of laborers and the labor movement in two distinct ways: the ideological portrayal of laborers and the labor movement and the real- world representation in Thai society, where they are often depicted as aggressive, irrational, and manipulated by politicians. By examining the construction of the laborer's image and the state's portrayal of the labor movement, this study sheds light on the factors influencing societal perceptions and the middle class's alignment with the state's perspective.

Author Information
Tawan Wannarat, Silpakorn University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACSS2023
Stream: Politics

This paper is part of the ACSS2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Wannarat T. (2023) The Constructed Meaning of Thai Laborer by the State ISSN: 2186-2303 – The Asian Conference on the Social Sciences 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon