Historical Factors Influencing the Presentation of the Thai Pavilion at the World Expositions

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Nussara Intaraboonsom
William Chapman


This paper discusses part of the research done for my Ph.D. thesis at the Faculty of Architecture of Silpakorn University, titled Nation Brand Strategies: National Identity, Architecture, and Cultural Heritage Value: A Case Study of the Thai Pavilion at the World Expos.

The critical research questions the paper addresses is how historical factors influenced Thailand’s presentation at the World Expos through its Thai Pavilion. The paper researches the changes in the Thai pavilions at the World Expos and investigates which branding strategies were used to present the national identity. One of the main findings is that since Thailand’s first participation in 1862, roughly three periods can be identified where the main reasons for participation can be summarized as follows: fending off colonialism during colonial times, nationalism during the change-over to a constitutional monarchy, and nation branding in recent times. These periods align with the World Expo's general eras of industrialization, cultural exchange, and nation branding. The presentation changes somewhat over time, but overall, the national identity through the pavilion still holds on to traditional Thai architecture instead of more contemporary architecture. Previous successes at the World Expo are part of this; part of it is that a contemporary national architectural identity is challenging to define. For branding purposes,
a need exists for authenticity and recognition. For these reasons, traditional architecture will likely continue to have a strong chance of reappearing at future World Expos, even if some elements are primarily symbolic. An important conclusion is that the successful presentation of traditional Thai architecture has led to few changes despite significant changes in world events and national events.

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How to Cite
Intaraboonsom, N., & Chapman, W. (2023). Historical Factors Influencing the Presentation of the Thai Pavilion at the World Expositions. Journal of Arts Management, 7(4), 1468–1483. Retrieved from https://so02.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/jam/article/view/265379
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