Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
Being and Becoming: Embodiment and Experience among the Orang Rimba of Sumatra

View Table of Contents

See Related
Anthropology Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Being and Becoming

Embodiment and Experience among the Orang Rimba of Sumatra

Ramsey Elkholy
Foreword by Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen

294 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-159-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-160-2 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Being and Becoming perfectly represents the present-day anthropological focus on bodies, senses, and the construction of persons (human and otherwise), as well as the replacement of textual emphases with phenomenological ones.” • Anthropology Review Database

“This is the perfect introduction to phenomenological anthropology, brilliantly combining theoretical insight with ethnographic analysis.” • Gillian Evans, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester

“The book provides a well-written ethnography from a phenomenological approach of a small hunter-gatherer group in Sumatra, known as Orang Rimba. This is a good ethnography, and a good contribution to hunter-gatherer studies and to phenomenological anthropology. It includes some delightful and perceptive discussions.” • Nurit Bird-David, University of Haifa

“This is an interesting and rich ethnography of the Orang Rimba, about whom little published material is available.” • Isabell Herrmans, University of Helsinki


For the Orang Rimba of Sumatra – and tropical foragers in general – life in the forest engenders a kind of “connectedness” that is contingent not only on harmonious relations between people, but also between people and the non-human environment, including those supernatural agencies of the forest that people depend on for their spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Exploring this world, anthropologist Ramsey Elkholy treats embodied action and perception as the basis of shared experience and shows how various forms of embodied experience constitute the very foundations of human culture. In a unique methodological contribution, Elkholy adopts a set of body-centered approaches that reflect and capture the day-to-day, moment-to-moment ways in which people engage with the world. Being and Becoming is an important contribution to phenomenological anthropology, hunter-gatherer studies, and to Southeast Asian ethnography more generally.

Ramsey Elkholy, PhD, University of Manchester, is an entrepreneur, musician, and writer based in New York City.

Subject: General Anthropology Theory & Methodology in Anthropology
Area: Asia-Pacific


List of Illustrations

Tim Ingold




Chapter 1. Into the Field: The Orang Rimba at Sungai Gelumpang
Chapter 2. Sociality and the Negotiation of Self and Other
Chapter 3. Touch and the Mutual Constitution of Selves and Others
Chapter 4. Forest, Village and the Significance of Movement


Chapter 5. Becoming a Hunter
Chapter 6. Hunting
Chapter 7. Becoming in the forest
Chapter 8. Shamanism and the textures of the universe
Chapter 9. Melangun


Orthography and glossary

Back to Top