SOAS University of London

Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)

Art Mitchells-Urwin

BA Southeast Asian Studies (SOAS), MA Gender Studies (SOAS)
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Art Mitchells-Urwin
Mr Art Mitchells-Urwin
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Thesis title:
Pornography Consumption of Diasporic Thais: Shifting and Static Responses to Power and the Erotic
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PhD Research

The recent study of Thailand and Thai culture has seen the nuancing of previously held discourses come to the fore. Similarly, within the last decade, notions of power and sexual expression internally of Thailand have been further explored. This thesis contributes to these discussions regarding power and sexuality in Thailand by exploring a widely consumed, yet seldom discussed medium, pornography.

In my research, I delineate the socio-political reasons for the illegality of pornography within Thailand and connect this directly with notions of Thai sexual subjectivity and wider political subjugation. In order to achieve this, I turn my attention to Thais living in diaspora in the UK, asking how their relocation to outside the discursive physical borders of Thailand affects their attitudes towards, and their consumption of, pornography. As such, this thesis incorporates the study of power and control, disaporic media consumption, pornography studies and general Thai studies.

Through a theoretical framework, this research demonstrates how Bourdieu’s theories of habitus, doxa and taste can contribute to the theoretical understandings of Thai pornography consumption, both within and externally of Thailand. Ultimately, this thesis will answer how Thais, when living in diaspora in the UK, respond to and utilise pornography when not bound by the censorship and illegality of pornography that pertains to Thailand.


  • Delivered paper at ASEASUK Conference, 2012: “Interrupted Queerness and Subjectivity Formation: Access and Lack of Gay Pornography in Thailand”. (Durham University. September, 2012)
  • Participated on panel: “Let's Talk About Porn” (Royal Holloway, University of London. October, 2012)
  • Delivered paper at Displacing the East/West Binary: Aesthetic and Cultural Crossover in Film and Visual Culture Conference: “Space and Body: Sexual, Power and Geographic Relations Between Thai and Western Bodies in Interracial Pornography”. (Cardiff University (November, 2012)
  • Convened panel at 2nd Annual Southeast Asian Studies Symposium: “Gender and Sexualities in Contemporary Southeast Asia”. (University of Oxford. March, 2013)
  • Delivered paper at EUROSEAS 2013: “(Thai) Pornography and its (lack of) intersections with the Thai sexual Self”. (Lisbon, July, 2013)
  • Delivered paper at Queer Asia as Historical Critique Conference: “Reporting the Queer Thai Body in the Twenty-First Century”. (Warwick University, May 2013).
  • Delivered paper at 12th International Conference of Thai Studies: "Readjusting the Thai Trans and Queer Body to “liberation” and expectation whilst in Diaspora". (Sydney University, April 2014)
  • Delivered paper at 12th International Conference of Thai Studies: “The Oscillation and Conflict Between the Mainstream and a Niche: The Thai sexual body in Western pornography”. (Sydney University, April 2014)