Spirit Possession in Buddhist Southeast Asia: Worlds Ever More Enchanted
edited by Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière and Peter A. Jackson
In dramatic contrast to the reported growing influence of doctrinal and fundamentalist forms of religion in some parts of Southeast Asia, the predominantly Buddhist societies of the region are witnessing an upsurge of spirit possession cults and diverse forms of magical ritual. This is found in many social strata, including the urban poor, rising middle classes and elite groups, and across the different political systems of Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. This volume reveals both the central historical place of spirit possession rituals in the Buddhist cultures of mainland Southeast Asia and their important contemporary roles to enhance prosperity and protection. It examines the increasing prominence of spirit mediumship and divination across the region by exploring the interplay of neoliberal capitalism, visual media, the network cultures of the Internet, and the politics of cultural heritage and identity.
Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière is an anthropologist at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris and former director of its Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CASE). She specializes on Burma-Myanmar, where she has conducted regular field research since the 1980s, and has written widely on religion and rituals.
Peter A. Jackson is Emeritus Professor in Thai cultural history at the Australian National University. Over the past four decades, he has written extensively on religion, gender and sexuality in modern Thailand as well as critical approaches to Asian area studies. His ongoing research includes studying media and masculinity in Thai gay cultures and religion and ritual in Thai communities affected by HIV.
Publication year: 2022
362 pp / 229mm x 152mm
56 (25 in colour)
ISBN: 978-87-7694-310-3, Paperback
ISBN: 978-87-7694-309-7, Hardback