The Aesthetics Of Evidence: Crime And Conspiracy In Thailand'S Popular Press
This dissertation argues that aesthetic conventions ensure the 'factness' of legal evidence as much as the ontological reality of that evidence and, moreover, these conventions developed as part of a joint project between agents of the law and the mass media. To make this case, the dissertation does two things. First, it shows how certain objects widely considered facts in the criminal justice system in Thailand are actually artifacts, or products of human craft, that had to be introduced and then taught to the Thai police over a period of decades beginning in the late nineteenth century. It then shows how in the process of this transplantation actors and objects in fields outside of what is typically considered 'the law' including newspaper reporters and detective novels played a role in determining what legal facts looked like. To help demonstrate this, the dissertation borrows two concepts from literature studies, narrative and device, which here includes visual diagrams. By focusing on these two categories of analysis, the dissertation shows how form shapes content in real and fictional worlds. The intention is to build a framework for understanding the interaction between popular and legal knowledge through an examination of the formal aspects of non-fictional and fictional narratives. The dissertation argues further that the rise of conspiracy theory as a prominent way of understanding power and agency in modern Thai society can be traced in part to modern representational practices.
Thai history; History of media; History of police
Tagliacozzo, Eric; Riles, Annelise
Ph. D., History
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis