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Women, ‘Successful Ageing’ and the Media in Thailand

Nitiwarangkul, K. (2024). Women, ‘Successful Ageing’ and the Media in Thailand. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Concepts around ‘positivity in ageing’, including ‘successful ageing’, have become popularised and prevalently discussed in policy and cultural discourses. Such concepts confront the ‘presumptions’ that the growing elderly population is becoming a ‘societal burden’ due to increased demands for healthcare and welfare services (Neilson, 2006). Furthermore, such ‘positive’ discourses of ageing often target the ‘younger olds’ (in their late 50s to early 70s) due to the presumptions about their greater purchasing power and better well-being conditions compared to the preceding generations of elderly people (Kohlbacher and Chéron, 2012, p.179).

More than 19% of Thailand’s population is 60 or older as of 2022 (TGRI, 2022). However, the country becomes “older while not becoming richer” as it lacks resources and welfare to accommodate the population of such an age demographic (Zachau, 2016, n.p.). This research, therefore, aims to explore and critically examine the meanings of the term ‘successful ageing’ from the perspectives of the ‘young-old’ women in Thailand and the analysis of lifestyle shows targeting the elderly population. It intends to investigate the complex interplay between women’s subjective perceptions, the mediated discourses, and the sociocultural contexts in Thailand in the (re)construction of the concept of ‘successful ageing’.

Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with 16 ‘young-old’ middle- and upperclass female participants aged between 60 and 69. Two lifestyle shows, Lui Mai Ru Roi (a publicly broadcast television show) and Kasian Samran (a YouTube channel featuring four celebrities and their mothers), were also analysed. The key themes found in the findings yielded from both methods are self-reliance, familial relations, romantic relationships, social life, activeness and productivity.

This research is making significant contributions to gerontology, gender studies, media studies, and sociology, amongst others. Its findings have highlighted culturally specific insights around women’s ageing experiences in a Global South country, such as Thailand, that are rarely explored in the above ‘Western-centric’ fields. By taking both the empathetic and critical approaches in the analysis, the research has offered more nuanced and multifaceted understandings and meanings of ‘successful ageing’ according to both the subjective experiences of the women and the broader sociocultural contexts in which they are situated. The outcomes of this research can contribute to the implementation of ageing and gender-related policies and the production of mediated content on older women.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences
[thumbnail of Nitiwarangkul thesis 2024 PDF-A.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 30 June 2027 due to copyright restrictions.


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