The Newsletter 96 Autumn 2023

IBP 2023 French Language Edition

Total number of books submitted: 22

Organizing Entity: GIS Asie
Secretary: Aurélie Varrel
Acting Secretary: Gosia Chwirot
Reading Committee Members: Louise Pichard-Bertaux, Matthias Hayek, Valérie Lavoix and Xavier Paulès
Sponsor of the IBP 2023 French Language Edition: GIS Asie – French Academic Network on Asian Studies

GIS Asie


IBP 2023 French Language Winner

AUTHOR: Nicolas Prévot

TITLE: Un sacré bazar. Musique, possession et ivresse en Inde centrale (Playing with the Gods. Music, Spirit and Spirits in Central India)

PUBLISHER: Société d’Ethnologie, 2022

Playing with the Gods. Music, Spirit and Spirits in Central India (« Un sacré bazar » in French) is a fascinating volume guiding us into a two-day ritual in Bastar (Central India) through the prism of ethnomusicology. The author introduces us to the field and the multiple actors (divinities, devotees, religious practitioners, musicians) of this possession ritual with impressive skills of clarification. Then he takes us throughout the two days of ceremonies, describing and analyzing what is taking place and form with a permanent sense of detail, attention to vocabulary and reflexivity in order to make sense of his exceptional material based on participative observation as a musician. He unravels the complexity of rituals where alcohol, music and possession are intricated. The volume combines ethnography and musicology with a writing and sketching talent that never leaves aside the readership, who also has access to visual and audio material available on an online repository. This book resulting from a long engagement with the field and Indian musical practitioners renews the scholarship on popular religious practices and possession rituals, and it will definitely become a reference in anthropology of India and ethnomusicology.


IBP 2023 French Language Shortlist and Accolades

Most Accessible and Captivating Work for the Non-Specialist Reader

Le dernier empire de la presseAUTHOR: César Castellvi

TITLE: Le dernier empire de la presse. Une Sociologie du journalisme au Japon (The Last Empire of the Press: A Sociology of Journalism in Japan)

PUBLISHER: CNRS Editions, 2022

In this book, based on his doctoral thesis, César Castellvi highlights a double paradox. On the one hand, Japan, a country that made a digital shift very early on, is the country where printed media is the healthiest in the world. On the other hand, there is no school, association or union of journalism in the Archipelago. Based on the results of an immersive fieldwork, Castellvi offers a detailed sociological analysis of journalistic work in Japan. He first presents the internal ways of one of the country's two main newspapers, before situating the evolution of this profession in the broader context of the transformations of Japanese society, both from a demographic and labor point of view, since the end of the 20th century. The author's approach, which is based as much on the sociology of work as on the sociology of organizations, allows him to draw a vivid portrait of his object. The space given to the voices of the interviewees, as well as the introspective returns on the experience of the investigation, are two welcomed additions to a fascinating work.


Landmark Contribution to the Field

La Dynastie des SongAUTHOR: Christian Lamouroux

TITLE: La Dynastie des Song (The Song Dynasty)

PUBLISHER: Les Belles Lettres, 2022

In this dense and masterful volume, Christian Lamouroux delivers much more than a synthetic history – chronological and thematic, in keeping with the format of the General History of China series at "Belles Lettres" press – of one of the most complex and founding periods of Chinese history, the Song “open world”. The book brings together the fruits of decades of research both on the author’s favourite topics – spaces and territories, economy and finance – and by large on Song political and social bodies of power. Every single page is matured and vitalized by an impressive command over modern Japanese, Chinese and Western historiography, offering "a history of Song history" that is meant to be a major reference.


Birmanie. Par-delà l'ethnicitéAUTHOR: François Robinne

TITLE: Birmanie. Par-delà l'ethnicité (Burma. Beyond Ethnicity)

PUBLISHER: Dépaysage, 2021

Both an intellectual and a theoretical journey, François Robinne's book opens new perspectives for the understanding of Burma's ethnic heterogeneity. Transcending the studies of ethnic specificities, the author is interested in the junction points of these different peoples and develops the concept of "social crossroads", where networks and dynamics intersect and intertwine. The Burmese terrain is confronted with cosmopolitan exile in the Bangkok enclaves of Burmese workers. The book is published by Dépaysage, a publishing house dedicated to the social sciences and humanities which takes particular care in the production of the volumes. Divided into four movements with a preface by Michel Agier, the book is supported by a solid bibliography and a remarkable set of observations accumulated over nearly four decades. Director of research at the CNRS, François Robinne has been working for nearly 40 years in Burma and Southeast Asia. Beyond the anthropological work, it is also the itinerary of the researcher that is retraced here, which makes the work all the more fascinating.


Scream for LifeAUTHOR: Nathanel Amar

TITLE: Scream for Life. L’Invention d'une contra-culture punk en Chine populaire (Scream for Life. The invention of a punk counterculture in the People’s Republic of China)

PUBLISHER: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2022

This book tells the history of Chinese punk based on a superb ethnographic work conducted between the late 2000s and mid-2010s.  Amar takes us into the intimacy of punk communities, showing how forms of modus vivendi are established on a daily basis with law and order and the administration. It highlights the importance of the most modern means of communication (social media) in structuring the punk movement, while brilliantly situating this movement in the long temporality of the history of marginality in China.