Framing the Violence in Southern Thailand: Three Waves of Malay Muslim Separatism
JONES, SARA A., M.A., June 2007, Southeast Asian Studies
This thesis examines how the Thai newspaper, The Nation (an English-language
daily), portrays the violence in the Malay-Muslim South through the use of agendasetting
concepts and framing analyses in articles published about four events in 2004.
Two of the events are examples of state aggression against southern insurgents whereas
the other two are instances in which southern insurgents were the primary aggressors
against the state and⁄or citizens. The history of the Malay-Muslim dominant provinces is
reviewed, showing how the separatist movement has evolved into three distinct waves.
The original secessionist movements focused on ethnic Malay identity; over time
elements of Islamist ideology were introduced such that the current movement is not
recognizably a separatist or Islamist movement. This thesis also includes a short analysis
of articles published in Matichon sutsapd??, a Thai-language weekly, and shows how
Malay-Muslim Thais in the South demand justice. This thesis argues that representations
of the conflict in the media frame it in terms of Thai⁄Malay ethnicity or Buddhist⁄Islamist
identity which obscure the need for political reforms and justice.