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Ritual Retellings

Luangan Healing Performances through Practice

Isabell Herrmans

304 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-564-6 $95.00/£67.00 Hb Published (March 2015)

eISBN 978-1-78238-565-3 eBook

Hb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors

“Of particular value is Herrmans’s analysis of the subject matter from a multidimensional perspective by integrating various theoretical trends and concepts…The greatest strength of this volume is its captivating and vivid ethnographic description and meticulous documentation of situationally emerging ritual performances, entwined with the life stories of the particular people who were involved in them through which the ethnographic scene is brought ‘alive’ for the reader.” · The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology

“I consider this book to be a valuable contribution to Southeast Asian ethnography and to the study of ritual performance and healing. The author effectively explores the connections of her study to contemporary approaches to the study of ritual meaning and practice, and to the wider ethnographic literature. The book reads as an extended conversation with colleagues about ways to approach, present, and understand curing rituals.” · Jane Monnig Atkinson, Lewis & Clark College

“The author draws the reader into a discussion about myth and ritual as flexible, unpredictable and ongoing processes intertwined with everyday life. The main strengths of the book… are how the author lets the spirits come alive, acting as subjects, and the central place she gives to the exploration of spirit negotiations.” · Jörgen Hellman, University of Gothenburg

Belianis an exceptionally lively tradition of shamanistic curing rituals performed by the Luangans, a politically marginalized population of Indonesian Borneo. This volume explores the significance of these rituals in practice and asks what belian rituals do – socially, politically, and existentially – for particular people in particular circumstances. Departing from the conception that rituals exist as ethereal, liminal or insulated traditional domains, this volume demonstrates the importance of understanding rituals as emergent within their specific historical and social settings. It offers an analysis of a number of concrete ritual performances, exemplifying a diversity of ritual genres, stylistic modalities and sensual ambiences, from low-key, habitual affairs to drawn-out, crowd-seizing community rituals and innovative, montage-like cultural experiments.

Isabell Herrmans is a post-doctoral researcher in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki. She has done fieldwork in Indonesian Borneo since 1993, and has research interests in shamanistic curing practices, Indonesian politics of religion, animistic ontologies, and sensory experience.

Series: Volume 16, Epistemologies of Healing
Subject: Medical Anthropology Religion
Area: Asia-Pacific

LC: DS646.32.D9H47 2015

BISAC: SOC005000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Customs & Traditions; SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural; MED034000 MEDICAL/Healing

BIC: PSXM Medical anthropology; JFSR Religious groups: social & cultural aspects


List of Figures


Chapter 1. Luangan Lives: The Order and Disorder of Improvisation and Practice
Chapter 2. Representing Unpredictability
Chapter 3. Making Tactile: Ganti Diri Figures and the Magic of Concreteness
Chapter 4. The Uncertainty of Spirit Negotiation
Chapter 5. So that Steam Rises: Ritual Bathing as Depersonalization
Chapter 6. It Comes Down to One Origin: Reenacting Mythology and the Human-Spirit Relationship in Ritual



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