Dissertation Information for Songphan Choemprayong
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: The transition of worldviews: Collective information behavior during the 2006 Thai coup d'etat
Abstract: This study explores the way in which people sought and shared information during a socio-political crisis, using the September 19, 2006 coup d'état in Thailand as a case study, where the traditional flow of information and communication was interrupted. Using Chatman's notion of small world and Merton's Insider and Outsider conception as major theoretical frameworks, this study particularly focuses on collective information behavior and the roles of insiders and outsiders in this disruptive situation. Exploratory qualitative methods were applied, including document analysis and semi-structured interviews. The document analysis covers coup-related public online documents (i.e., blogs, photos, videos, and Wikipedia entries) created and/or uploaded during September 19 to September 23, 2006. Sense-Making Methodology (SMM), including the Micro-Moment Timeline interview approach and SMM question roster, was used to frame the interviews. The interview informants were selected using two methods: eight from extreme case selection (whose content was most visible, commented, viewed, ranked during the coup), and four from a snowball sampling technique. The data analysis used both deductive and inductive coding techniques. The findings explain how people sought and shared information in order to make sense of the situation as well as to serve other motivations (e.g., to persuade others, to be part of a history, and to entertain). Some factors influencing information behavior during that period were examined including individual (i.e., emotion, memory, and physical capacity), collective (i.e., to know better and faster, to achieve particular goals, to feel secure, and to be encouraged), and contextual constructs (i.e., time and place). In addition, this study found that there was still a strong form of the Insider among those who were in Thailand during that time, confirming the applicability of Chatman's small world. However, there was also evidence of the Outsider, especially highlighting the eminent roles of converted members--insiders-out and outsiders-in--in terms of bridging worldviews. This study supports a call to reconsider threats from censorship as a derivative form of information poverty as well as revisit the creation and adjustment of social norms, and the sense of excitement in the context of information behavior in socio-political crisis.
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