Global Asia

Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia. Magic and Modernity

Volker Gottowik

Starting from the premise that modernity has cast a spell over people around the world, this collection explores the use of magic and religion as modern tools for connection. The contributors draw on new ethnographic research in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Indonesia to show that residents of these countries no longer see religion and modernity as contradictory. Rather, religious ideas and magic practices help people across the region to meet the challenges of modern life. Revising our understanding of religion in Southeast Asia, this collection sheds new light on the multiple modernities that characterize our globalized world.

Volker Gottowik is postdoctoral researcher in the area studies network ‘Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia’ (DORISEA) at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Heidelberg.


Modern Spirits

Peter J. Bräunlein: Spirits in and of Southeast Asia’s Modernity: An Overview

Michael Dickhardt: The Social Placing of Religion and Spirituality in Vietnam in the Context of Asian Modernity: Perspectives for Research

Alexander Horstmann: Ancestral Spirits, Polyphony and Transgression in Southern Thailand’s Multi-Religious Ritual 

Guido Sprenger: Where the Death go to the Market: Market and Ritual as Social Systems in Upland Southeast Asia

Modern Muslims

Martin Slama:  Hadhrami Moderns: The Recurring Dynamics and Historical Rhymes of Al-Irsyad, Indonesia         

Paul Christensen: Modernity and Spirit Possession in Java: Horse Dance as a Threatened Space of Interpretation  

Susanne Rodemeier: Mubeng Beteng: A Contested Ritual of Circumambulation in Yogyakarta

Melanie V. Nertz: ‘Muslim Modernities’ in Makassar and Yogyakarta: Negotiating ‘the West’ as Frame of Reference

Thomas Reuter: Cosmological Battles: Understanding Susceptibility and Resistance to Transnational Islamic Puritanism in Java

Modern Traditions

Birgit Bräuchler: Modes of Interreligious Coexistence and Civility in Maluku              

Volker Gottowik: Ethnicity and Violence in Bali; and what Barong Landung says about it

Annette Hornbacher: Contested Moksa in Balinese Agama Hindu: Balinese Death Rituals between Ancestor Worship and Modern Hinduism

Karin Klenke: Good Girls: Christianity, Modernity and Gendered Morality in Tanah Karo, North Sumatra           

Judith Schlehe: Bukit Kasih, the Hill of Love: Multireligiosity for Pleasure