McCargo Duncan

Article Bio Works Merits Projects
communication, politics
Written and spoken word (lectures, media debate)
Europe, Western
England (UK)
created on:
July 31, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since October 26, 2005. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
information provided by:


Asian media at stage

Professor Duncan McCargo has proven his intellectual capacities in many fields, including the role of media in a fast chagning Asia.
Professor of Southeast Asian Politics at Leeds, Duncan McCargo, has a dedicated interest in the relation between media and politics. More specifically he is concerned with the constitution of political news.

His book ´Media and Politics in Pacific Asia´ (Routledge) published in 2003, is the first to provide a detailed account of the political influence exerted by both domestic and international media in the Asian Pacific region. The author examines how the media has acted as an agent of stability, restraint or change in countries across the region, including Japan, Hong Kong and Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Burma. Combining theoretical perspectives with a broad range of empirical case studies, this book is an excellent introduction to the significant role of the media in the life of the Asia Pacific region.

His other book on media,´Politics and the press in Thailand: media machinations´ (Routledge 2000) is the first book in English to examine the tangled web of relationships linking newspaper owners, editors and reporters, with leading politicians and power-holders.

Apart from being a researcher, he engages in public debate and criticises Thai TV networks to be controlled by a powerful interest group. "The ITV sackings are definitely a step backward for Thailand, which is now reverting to the 1992 position when television could not be relied on for objective information," McCargo said in an interview. "They illustrate a long-standing problem with Thailand´s media: that people buy and own media as a fairly crude means of exerting political power and influence".

"Still, Thailand has one of the freest presses in Southeast Asia. The 1997 constitution comprehensively protects media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information; press monitor Freedom House upgraded Thailand´s press from "partly free" to "free" in its 1998-99 report", he said.

His latest book, The Thaksinization of Thailand (co-authored with Ukrist Pathmanand, 2005) examines the rise to political power of billionaire telecommunications magnate Thaksin Shinawatra, who currently serves as Thailand´s prime minister. Chapter 5 of the book examines Thaksin´s political discourse and his strategies for managing the media. As seen in the seven books he has published, most of his research to date has been in two main areas: processes of democratisation; and political reform in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand; and the relationship between politics and media in Asia. He also has a secondary interest in Japanese politics and society, and an interest in Buddhism.

McCargo has lectured in many Asian countries, including Japan, where he spent three years. He is the author of Contemporary Japan (Palgrave 2000, 2004), a popular introduction to the country. Japan is sometimes quoted as one of the most important yet least understood societies. McCargo attempts to fill in the gap for a concise but thought provoking introduction to all aspects of its political, economic and social life set in a clear historical context on Japan. He argues, that we need to understand a range of alternative perspective that falls into three categories - mainstream revisionist, and culture and Japan´s place in the world. This book is written for both students and general readers who want to know more about the important and fascinating county aspects of Japan.

He is currently editing a book on Vietnam. In recent years he has also become increasingly interested in the politics of language and identity in ´peripheral´ areas of Thailand such as the Northeast and far South, and in strategies of resistance adopted by local people in negotiating their relationship with Bangkok. His next two books will focus mainly on issues of this kind, including questions of language, minorities, religion, and the role of NGOs and popular movements in conflict resolution.
Author: Karin Bergquist


1963: Duncan McCargo was born in UK.

Educational Background:

1982-86: University of London, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College
BA (First Class Honours).

1984-1985: academic year JYA at University of Massachusetts, Amherst

1989-90: University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies
MA Area Studies (South East Asia)

1990-93: University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies
PhD Politics, thesis ‘The political leadership of Major-General Chamlong Srimuang;

Employment Record:

1981- 82 Community Service Volunteer, Camden Social Services, London.
1986-88 Instructor (BET/JET), Chigusa High School, Nagoya, Japan.
1988-89 Instructor, AUA Language Centre, Bangkok, Thailand.
1992-93 Lecturer in Politics, Queen´s University of Belfast (one year post)
1993-99 Lecturer in Politics, The University of Leeds (permanent post)
1997-98 Visiting Professor, Faculty of Law, Kobe Gakuin University, Japan
1999-02 Senior Lecturer in Politics,
The University of Leeds

Current Employer and Position:

· Professor of Southeast Asian Politics
· School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds


Media and Politics in Pacific Asia

Published Written,
185pp, London and New York: Routledge.

Politics and the press in Thailand: media machinations

Published Written,
205 pp., London and New York: Routledge, 2000 (paperback edition, Bangkok: Garuda Press ).

Contemporary Japan,

Published Written,
223 pp, Basingstoke and New York: Macmillan and St Martin?s Press,

Chamlong Srimuang and the new Thai politics

Published Written,
334 pp., London and New York: Hurst and St. Martin?s Press.


Nominated UK participant in the Second Asia-Europe Young Leaders´ Symposium, Baden, near Vienna, Austria, 25-29 May 1998.

External reviewer, BBC World Service Thai Language Section, July 1999.


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)