Childbirth and Tradition in NE Thailand: Forty Years of Development and Cultural Change
by Anders Poulsen
Anders Poulsen's term as a UNESCO expert terminated in 1962, but he has returned to the same area of Northeast Thailand many times since, most recently in 2005. As such, this beautifully illustrated volume offers a rare study of Isan-Thai customs and belief associated with pregnancy and birth and how they have changed over almost half a century. Using a psychological and socio-therapeutic framework, Anders Poulsen discusses the function of various birth rites as well as giving an unmatched description of all traditions specifically connected to pregnancy and birth. He includes an interesting description of the tradition of confinement by fire (yuu-fai) and documents that it is still widely practiced, contrary to what has been reported. He also puts forward a theory of why some traditions maintain their importance while others fade away. The findings of this study are supported by the transcription in Isan (and translated into English) of the ritual texts that are used in these rites.
"Dr Poulsen’s book is a meticulous report of change over time in Baan Phraan Muean village, and of the behavioral and cultural response of the villagers. This work has broad relevance for helping us understand the psychological impacts of social change, and learn how to mitigate their harm, particularly as the pace of change quickens and reaches into preciously remote areas." - Lisa M. Vandemark, Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 97
Anders Poulsen has a life-long interest in Thai village culture, and is the former director of the Danish Psychological Press. He has been involved in official and semi-official commissions dealing with development of the Danish educational system throughout his career.
Publication year: 2007
286 pp / 224mm x 217mm
ISBN: 978-87-7694-003-4, Paperback