Appropriating dissent: The three-finger salute and Thailand’s pro-democracy movement
Keywords:mass culture, pro-democracy, protest, Thailand, aesthetics
This paper examines the uses and implications of the three-finger salute from The Hunger Games franchise as a symbol of dissent in pro-democracy protests in Bangkok beginning in 2014. The raising of the salute by protesters demonstrates that concerted collective action is made possible through common consumption of popular culture narratives, functioning to mobilise the public and influence the narrativisation of contemporary political movements. Building on theories on mass culture, democratic participation, and the aestheticisation of politics, I argue that the appropriation of the three-finger salute in Bangkok reveals how popular cultural texts facilitate the rise of modern forms of crowds and masses that have the capacities to frame political subjectivity and collective identities, making legible and visible perceived and shared societal injustices.