During the early decades of the twentieth century, Thailand's capital, Bangkok, took on an increasingly cosmopolitan character-a development fueled both by global economic forces and a local revolution in communications. The 1920s were a particularly dynamic period of social and cultural transformation that had a profound impact on the development of Thai modernity. This book examines the growth of a polyphonous and often vociferous Thai public, a public that used a range of new media outlets to express themselves and clamor for a more just and equitable social order. Scot BarmZ mines a rich lode of previously ignored cultural ephemera found in popular newspapers, magazines, novels, short stories, film booklets, and cartoons to create a vibrant cultural history of early modern Thailand that moves beyond conventional, elite-based historical studies of the period. By focusing on such controversies and conflicts as the status of women, relations between the sexes, class antagonisms, and the growth of a commercial mass culture, this book offers a new interpretation of the key decade of the 1920s and its significance for contemporary Thailand.
Truly path-breaking. Men still expect to dominate lots of women, while women are expected to be passive and pure. That's why 1920s Bangkok and its gender debates still seem so familiar. Great book.--Chris Baker, Bangkok Post