Engaging the Spirit World: Popular Beliefs and Practices in Modern Southeast Asia

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Andrea Lauser, Kirsten W. Endres
Berghahn Books, 2011 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 234 pages
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"'The world today is as furiously religious as it ever was.' This quote from Peter Berger now appears to be undisputed in the contemporary social and cultural sciences. A look around the globe reveals that modernization does not necessarily lead to a decline of religion, neither in society nor in the minds of individuals. Moreover, the multifaceted and divergent responses to modernization processes have significantly contributed to a critical reflection on the notion of a singular modernity, and as a result it has been suggested to speak of multiple, vernacular, alternative, or "other" modernities. Southeast Asia in particular presents a rich field of inquiry into the dynamics of these "modernities" that have produced and shaped a wide variety of religious phenomena. With case studies from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam, these contributions reveal contemporary religious practices in Southeast Asia as thoroughly modern manifestations of uncertainties, moral disquiet and unequal rewards in the contemporary moment."--Publisher's description.

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Multivocal Arenas of Modern Enchantment in Southeast Asia
Can Things Reach the Dead? The Ontological Status of Objects and the Study of Lao Buddhist Rituals for the Spirits of the Deceased
Spirited Warriors Conspiracy and Protection on Lombok
From the Mystical to the Molecular Modernity Martial Arts and Agency in Java
Changing Spirit Identities Rethinking the Four Palaces Spirit Representations in Northern Vietnam
Gods Gifts Markets and Superstition Spirited Consumption from Korea to Vietnam
Contests of Comm emoration Virgin War Martyrs State Memorials and the Invocation of the Spirit World in Contemporary Vietnam
Spirit Cults and Construction Sites Transethnic Popular Religion and Keramat Symbolism in Contemporary Malaysia
Being a Spirit Medium in Contemporary Burma
Reconfiguring Manora Rongkru Ancestor Worship and Spirit Possession in Southern Thailand
The Horror of the Modern Violation Violence and Ramp aging Urban Youths in Contemporary Thai Ghost Films
Notes on Contributors

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About the author (2011)

Kirsten W. Endres is a Senior Research Fellow and Head of Research Group at Department II, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale. Her monograph, Performing the Divine: Mediums, Markets and Modernity in Urban Vietnam (2011), examines the flourishing of urban spirit mediumship as part of the recent revival of popular religion in Vietnam.

Andrea Lauser is Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany. She is a member of and lecturer in a new area studies network 'Dynamics of Religion in Southeast-Asia,' composed of the Southeast Asia departments of Hamburg, Berlin, Muenster, Heidelberg and Göttingen, and funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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