Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Petra Desatova

Branding the Nation: Politics of national identity formation in Thailand

Photo of Petra Desatova

My research is a comparative study into the politics of nation branding.

The focus of the research is twofold: firstly, it seeks to establish how nation branding operates on a local, national and international level of national identity formation; secondly, it aims to explore the motives that drive the ‘need’ to adopt nation branding and how domestic audiences’ reactions to and engagement with nation branding affect its practice.

I have adopted qualitative approach to the study of nation branding and Thailand is my main case study. I will cross-compare findings from the Thai case with a small number of comparator East and Southeast Asian cases to explore how nation branding operates across different regime types, which will allow for greater generalisability of my findings.

This research will argue that nation branding is a practice that is primarily aimed at changing the social attitudes and behaviours of domestic audiences. This study’s contribution to the emerging body of critical literature on nation branding is in that it provides a holistic, yet critical, account of how nation branding operates on different levels of identity formation as well as across different regime types.


I have completed a BA in International Relations and Thai and Southeast Asia Studies (first class with a distinction in spoken Thai) and an MA in Professional Language and Intercultural Studies (distinction), both at the University of Leeds. Before staring my PhD in October 2015, I worked in non-governmental (Germany), corporate (UK) and higher education (UK) sectors.

During my studies, I received a number of awards in recognition of my academic achievements: University of Leeds Crabtree Award (2008) and Don Rimmington Prize (2012), and the Royal Thai Embassy’s Lanna (2010) and Saranrom Awards (2013). I was also awarded Santander Scholarship (2012-13) towards my MA and the University of Leeds 110th Anniversary Scholarship (2015-2018) towards my PhD studies.

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