Kon baan diaokan or ‘we’re from the same village’
star/fan interaction in Thai lukthung
Keywords:fandom, Isan, lukthung, Mangpor Chonticha, Thai country music
Phleng lukthung or Thai country song, is an acculturated song genre of Thailand which draws on modern and traditional cultural forms, appeals to both urban and rural populations, can be nationalistic, yet is also emblematic of the large and historically marginalized Isan minority. Isan people have exerted increasing influence as the dominant consumers of the lukthung music industry. As a result certain notions of Lao-Isan identity, such as inferred equality, ethnic solidarity and determined resistance to chauvinism, have become associated with lukthung music and its fandom. Whereas Thai pop largely emulates global concepts of fandom, lukthung fan culture draws heavily on the Thai discourse of community and the customary performer/audience relationships found in traditional genres such as like and molam. This article describes two main aspects of lukthung fan culture: (i) the opportunities for interaction between fans and performers at concerts and (ii) the communities formed by singers and their fan clubs. The ways in which Isan identity is expressed within these two aspects is assessed according to theories of marginalized and dominant fandoms.
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