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To Belong or Not to Belong. Affective Self-Nationalization in Thailand

Journal article
Authors Katrina Gaber
Published in Political Psychology
Volume 41
Issue 2
Pages 323-341
ISSN 0162-895X
Publication year 2020
Published at School of Global Studies
Pages 323-341
Language en
Keywords affect, belonging, emotion, Khao Phra Wihan, Preah Vihear, (self-) nation (-alism, -alist, -alizing), emotions, Government & Law, Psychology
Subject categories Law and Society, Globalization Studies


Through analyzing conflict narratives regarding Khao Phra Wihan, a territorial conflict important for nationalists in Thailand, this article aims to detangle how nationalization is experienced and performed on an individual level. In this article, the concept "affective self-nationalization" is proposed to analyze the emotional and embodied practices through which individuals fashion themselves into nationalized subjects. In Thailand, self-nationalization is instigated by the governing agency through repeated, regular, mandatory, public performances of loyalty through which individuals create the nation collectively. These performances create automatic feelings to the nation, establishes national others as fearsome, and rule through the basic human need of belonging. At the same time, individuals' emotions shape the society through how they decide to perform nationalization. The concept of "affective self-nationalization" captures the connections between the official nationalizing program of "outside" society in a form of nationalist emotional socialization with individual experience of nationalizing.

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