Animism in Southeast Asia

Author: Kaj Arhem
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317336615
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Animism refers to ontologies or worldviews which assign agency and personhood to human and non-human beings alike. Recent years have seen a revival of this concept in anthropology, where it is now discussed as an alternative to modern-Western naturalistic notions of human-environment relations. Based on original fieldwork, this book presents a number of case studies of animism from insular and peninsular Southeast Asia and offers a comprehensive overview of the phenomenon – its diversity and underlying commonalities and its resilience in the face of powerful forces of change. Critically engaging with the current standard notion of animism, based on hunter-gatherer and horticulturalist societies in other regions, it examines the roles of life forces, souls and spirits in local cosmologies and indigenous religion. It proposes an expansion of the concept to societies featuring mixed farming, sacrifice and hierarchy and explores the question of how non-human agents are created through acts of attention and communication, touching upon the relationship between animist ontologies, world religion, and the state. Shedding new light on Southeast Asian religious ethnographic research, the book is a significant contribution to anthropological theory and the revitalization of the concept of animism in the humanities and social sciences.

Society in Contemporary Laos

Author: Boike Rehbein
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 1351859358
Format: PDF, Docs
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Over the past decade, Laos’ exposure to global capitalism has resulted in extensive economic and social transformations. Precapitalist social structures both persist and are transformed into a particular configuration of classes. This entails increasing social inequality, a widening range of habitus and new forms of ethos. This book pursues the theoretical aim of shedding light on the old question raised by Max Weber about the relation between capitalism, ethos and society. The empirical study consists of a description of the social structures, their embodiment in the habitus and world-views in Laos against the background of a critical revision of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology. To achieve these aims, the author develops a qualitative methodology as neither Weber nor Bourdieu explained how to empirically study habitus and ethos. The empirical material for the book was gathered over a period of more than five years and comprises several hundred life-course interviews in all sections of Lao society as well as a representative quantitative survey. The author argues that precapitalist social structures persist and continue to shape the social fabric of contemporary Laos. At the same time, they are transformed by global and local capitalism. The book shows how the hierarchies contained in each structure shape the habitus of the Lao population and how these in turn influence the development of a capitalist and a religious ethos. The argument makes use of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology and adapts it to the setting of Laos by introducing new as well as indigenous concepts. While social structure, habitus and beliefs are subject to a capitalist transformation and unification, the newly emerging classes and milieus are not copies of Western forms but retain their local history. Filling a gap in the literature on Laos and offering new perspectives on core concepts such as habitus, class, lifestyle, work ethic and its religious underpinnings, this book will be of interest to academics in the fields of Sociology, Religious Studies, and Southeast Asian Studies.

Rethinking Power Relations in Indonesia

Author: Michaela Haug
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317333322
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Since colonial rule, the island of Java served as Indonesia’s imagined centre and prime example of development, while the Outer Islands were constructed as the state’s marginalised periphery. Recent processes of democratisation and regional autonomy, however, have significantly changed the power relations that once produced the marginality of the Outer Islands. This book explores processes of political, economic and cultural transformations in Indonesia, emphasizing their implications for centre-periphery relations from the perspective of the archipelago’s ‘margins’. Structured along three central themes, the book first provides theoretical contributions to the understanding of marginality in Indonesia. The second part focuses on political transformation processes and their implications for the Outer Islands. The third section investigates the dynamics caused by economic changes on Indonesia’s periphery. Chapters writtten by experts in the field offer examples from various regions, which demonstrate how power relations between centre and periphery are getting challenged, contested and reshaped. The book fills a gap in the literature by analysing the implications of the recent transformation processes for the construction of marginality on Indonesia’s Outer Islands.

De Centring Land Grabbing

Author: Peter Vandergeest
Publisher: Critical Agrarian Studies
ISBN: 9780815353874
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Southeast Asia has been portrayed as a key site in the global land grab. Featuring leading scholars in the field, this collection critically examines the nature and extent of land grabbing in Southeast Asia, and seeks to locate this phenomena in broader agrarian and environmental transitions (AET). The individual contributions suggest that there is little evidence of a global land grab in Southeast Asia, but that over the last ten years the surge of plantations and processes of land grabbing has been a key feature in the region. The collection considers how broader AET processes may be brought more clearly into focus by decentring land grabbing, including consideration of its absence as well presence. The diversity of cases in this collection coalesces around the productive tension in land grab studies between global capitalist processes on the one hand, and context-specificity and contingent motivations fuelling the expansion of large-scale plantations for oil palm, rubber, cassava and other cash crops, on the other hand. The contributors further broaden the entry points to consider cross-sectoral AET processes such as enclosures for mining, conservation and hydropower and explore the contingencies that help to maintain smallholder production. The chapters originally published as a special issue in The Journal of Peasant Studies.

Brunei History Islam Society and Contemporary Issues

Author: Ooi Keat Gin
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 131765997X
Format: PDF, ePub
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Brunei, although a relatively small state, is disproportionately important on account of its rich resource base. In addition, in recent years the country has endeavoured to play a greater role in regional affairs, especially through ASEAN, holding the chair of the organisation in 2013, and also beyond the region, fostering diplomatic, political, economic and educational ties with many nations. This book presents much new research and new thinking on a wide range of issues concerning Brunei largely drawn from Bruneian academics. Subjects covered include Brunei’s rich history – the sultanate formerly had much more extensive territories and was a key player in regional affairs; the country’s economy, politics, society and ethnicities; and resource issues and international relations.

Policies and Politics in Malaysian Education

Author: Cynthia Joseph
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351377337
Format: PDF, Docs
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This book draws on elements of critical social theory, research on globalization, neo liberalism and education, and Malaysian Studies to understand the interplay of globalization, nationalism, cultural politics and ethnicized neoliberalism in shaping the educational reforms in Malaysia. Using the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (MEB) as a case study, a catalyst and a context, this collection critically explores some of the complex historical and contemporary push-pull politics and factors shaping Malaysia’s education system, its reform and the experience of Malaysians – and others – within it. The authors in this volume focus on the interplay of neoliberalism, nationalism, ethnic and cultural politics in shaping the educational reforms in Malaysia. Their work captures and seeks to understand the enduring, though changing, hierarchy of access and differentiated rights to educational, social and economic resources and opportunities experienced by different individuals and collectives, including those involved in the neoliberal enterprise of international education. It looks at how inequities have been re-configured in different educational spaces in Malaysia, and at how these inequities have been addressed through reform policies and practices. The book will be a shaper and critical contributor to the assessment of the Malaysian Education Blueprint and related policies. It will also have wider relevance globally as a critical approach to policy discussion.

Asian Sacred Natural Sites

Author: Bas Verschuuren
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317384679
Format: PDF, Docs
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Nature conservation planning tends to be driven by models based on Western norms and science, but these may not represent the cultural, philosophical and religious contexts of much of Asia. This book provides a new perspective on the topic of sacred natural sites and cultural heritage by linking Asian cultures, religions and worldviews with contemporary conservation practices and approaches. The chapters focus on the modern significance of sacred natural sites in Asian protected areas with reference, where appropriate, to an Asian philosophy of protected areas. Drawn from over 20 different countries, the book covers examples of sacred natural sites from all of IUCN’s protected area categories and governance types. The authors demonstrate the challenges faced to maintain culture and support spiritual and religious governance and management structures in the face of strong modernisation across Asia. The book shows how sacred natural sites contribute to defining new, more sustainable and more equitable forms of protected areas and conservation that reflect the worldviews and beliefs of their respective cultures and religions. The book contributes to a paradigm-shift in conservation and protected areas as it advocates for greater recognition of culture and spirituality through the adoption of biocultural conservation approaches.

The Modern Anthropology of South East Asia

Author: Victor T. King
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 9780415297516
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This is a comprehensive introduction to the social and cultural anthropology of South-East Asia. It provides an overview of the major theoretical issues and themes which have emerged from the engagement of anthropologists with South-East Asian communities; a succinct historical survey and analysis of the peoples and cultures of the region. Most importantly the volume reveals the vitally important role which the study of the area has occupied in the development of the concepts and methods of anthropology: from the perspectives of Edmund Leach to Clifford Geertz, Maurice Freedman to Claude Levi-Strauss; Lauriston Sharp to Melford Spiro.

The King and the Making of Modern Thailand

Author: Antonio L. Rappa
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1315411318
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The making of modern Thailand is grounded in specific political institutions, Brahmanical tropes, and sacred Buddhist traditions stylized with Hindu rituals. Over and above these mysterious practices and ancient customs, modern Thailand is a product of the late Great Rama IX Bhumibol Adulyadej. Most Thai people have only known one King. Born in Europe and educated during World War II, Bhumibol was the son of a Harvard medical doctor who had a penchant for jazz music and fast cars. When he returned to Thailand in 1951 to assume his royal duties, he could hardly speak Thai but his French and German were remarkable. Bhumibol had inherited an impoverished country with nothing but a symbolic role as a figurehead monarch. He was surrounded by envious courtiers and royals from other families now sidelined by the rise of the Chakri. Scheming generals and authoritarian field marshals were emptying the Kingdom’s coffers. Using guile and wit, Bhumibol had turned the tide by 1973. He became the most powerful modern warlord in the history of the Kingdom. He survived attempted murder, crafty politicians, corrupt generals, sycophantic courtiers and impoverished masses. When he died on October 13 2016, Bhumibol was already the longest standing monarch in the world. King Bhumibol was deeply respected and well-liked by farang and locals alike. Despite his massive social and economic achievements many problems continue to plague the Kingdom. These are prostitution, human rights issues, pollution, corruption, cronyism in Chinese businesses, border conflicts with Cambodia, and the refugee problem. This book examines the role of Rama IX and the variegated set of problems that persist in life under the great white elephant and mango trees. Rappa draws from his primary research that includes interviews, surveys and first-hand observations of a remarkable kingdom and a uniquely remarkable king to reveal the internal security threats to democracy and civil society in the oldest Southeast Asian kingdom in late modernity.

Buddhist World of Southeast Asia The

Author: Donald K. Swearer
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 1438432526
Format: PDF, Kindle
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A wide-ranging, readable account of the Theravada Buddhist thought and practice in the Southeast Asian societies of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.