Thai television and pleeng luuk tung

the role of television in the Isan cultural revival

James Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ubonrat Siriyuvasak argues that the Thai television industry is dually structured to support state ideology and propagate consumerism. This article proposes that television has, in spite of its structure, helped to empower the large Isan minority in Thailand through the popular song genre pleeng luuk tung. Luuk tung, or Thai country music, is possibly the only significant genre of music to ever be named after a television programme. The history of luuk tung in television is examined along with the cultural and social impact of significant programmes. The revival of Isan culture and the mediatory role of luuk tung is demonstrated through a case study of the drama series Pleeng rak rim fang Kong ("Lovesong on the banks of the Mekong"). This article proposes that the convergence of luuk tung, television and nationalism has allowed Isan culture to become mainstream.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-101
Number of pages21
JournalPerfect Beat
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Thailand
  • television
  • pleeng luuk tung
  • Isan
  • popular music

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