The Democracy Monument: Ideology, Identity, and Power Manifested in Built Forms

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Koompong Noobanjong


This research article examines the methods of power mediation in the design of the Democracy
Monument in Bangkok, Thailand. It examines its underlying concept and mechanisms for conveying political
power and social practice, along with the national and cultural identity that operates under an ideological
framework. The study consists of two major parts. First, it investigates the monument as a political form of
architecture: a symbolic device for the state to manifest, legitimize, and maintain power. The focus then
shifts to an architectural form of politics: the ways in which ordinary citizens re-appropriated the Democracy
Monument through semantic subversions to perform their social and political activities as well as to form
their modern identities. Via the discourse theory, the analytical and critical discussions further reveal
complexity, incongruity, and contradiction of meanings in the design of the monument in addition to
paradoxical relationships with its setting, Rajadamnoen Avenue, which resulted from changes in the country’s
socio-political situations.


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