The Peoples of Southeast Asia Today: Ethnography, Ethnology, and Change in a Complex Region

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Overview

The Peoples of Southeast Asia Today offers an anthropological treatment of the ethnography and ethnology of Southeast Asia, covering both the mainland and the insular regions. Based on the proposition that Southeast Asia is a true culture area, the book offers background information on geography, languages, prehistory and history, with a particular emphasis on the role of colonialism and the development of ethnic pluralism. It then turns to classic anthropological topics of interest including modes of adaptation, ways of life, and religion, all illustrated with relevant case studies and all brought up to date to show what is happening now. Students will find well-supported discussions of subjects ranging from the development of agriculture and language dispersals, to fantasy and reality in hunter-gatherer studies, to disputed interpretations of Thai Buddhism and Javanese Islam, to ongoing government efforts to manage religion, create proper citizens, resettle and assimilate indigenous populations, end shifting cultivation and promote modernization.
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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Southeast Asia is a remarkably diverse region: geographically, of mountains and lowlands, coasts and interior; ecologically, of hunters/gatherers, swidden cultivators, agriculturalists, and city dwellers; religiously, of multiple indigenous practices coexisting with the world's largest formal religions--Buddhism, Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant), Islam, and Hinduism. Winzeler (emer., anthropology, Univ. of Nevada, Reno) captures all of this in his remarkably inclusive book, a rare and very useful attempt to encompass the complete region, both the northern mainland and the southern islands. He succeeds by simultaneously sketching the region and the anthropological efforts to understand it, alternating broad-brush generalization with focused case example. This is a book, then, that is valuable as a resource both on the region and on how people have tried to understand it. Although the book as a whole is an essential reference, the three chapters that outline the range of religious beliefs and practices (including the difficult subject of conversion) deserve particular note for their insight and balance. Winzeler also provides a thoughtful review, pro and con, of tourism.
Choice
Southeast Asia is a remarkably diverse region: geographically, of mountains and lowlands, coasts and interior; ecologically, of hunters/gatherers, swidden cultivators, agriculturalists, and city dwellers; religiously, of multiple indigenous practices coexisting with the world's largest formal religions—Buddhism, Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant), Islam, and Hinduism. Winzeler (emer., anthropology, Univ. of Nevada, Reno) captures all of this in his remarkably inclusive book, a rare and very useful attempt to encompass the complete region, both the northern mainland and the southern islands. He succeeds by simultaneously sketching the region and the anthropological efforts to understand it, alternating broad-brush generalization with focused case example. This is a book, then, that is valuable as a resource both on the region and on how people have tried to understand it. Although the book as a whole is an essential reference, the three chapters that outline the range of religious beliefs and practices (including the difficult subject of conversion) deserve particular note for their insight and balance. Winzeler also provides a thoughtful review, pro and con, of tourism.
Jean Michaud
Robert Winzeler has written a balanced, intelligent, and refreshing book on the anthropology of Southeast Asia. The sensitivity shown on minority issues and non-urban populations is laudable.
Journal Of The Royal Anthropological Institute
This is a handy introduction to the region and peoples of Southeast Asia from an anthropological perspective which will appeal to undergraduate students as well as to those working in the development field. The author adopts a robust approach to questions of the integrity of the region, urging readers not to be unduly concerned with such issues, since all regions are imaginatively constructed

There is no doubt that his knowledge of the region is profound and sympathetic, and the book’s gentle, authoritative expository tone will appeal to many.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759118638
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 1/16/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,326,326
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert L. Winzeler is professor of anthropology emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno.
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Table of Contents

List of Maps and Photos xi

Preface and Acknowledgments xiii

1 Introduction 1

Mainland and Insular Southeast Asia and other Contrasts 6

Resources for the Study of Southeast Asian Peoples 15

Ethnography and Ethnology 17

2 Prehistory and Languages 25

The Negrito Issue 26

Transition to Farming and the Spread of Languages 28

Cultivation and the Origin and Dispersal of Language Groups 32

Southeast Asia at the Beginning of the Common Era 39

3 Early States, Civilization, and Colonialism 41

Indic Civilization in Southeast Asia 41

Early States 42

Colonialism 50

The Nature of Colonialism 56

Characteristics of Colonial Rule 57

The End of Colonial Rule 63

4 Ethnic Complexity in Modern Southeast Asia 67

Plural Society 68

Plural Society in Malaysia 70

Indians 71

Chinese 79

5 Hunter-Gatherers, Real and Imagined 85

An Overview 86

Questions and Controversies About Southeast Asian Hunter-Gatherers 89

Hunter-Gatherers as Objects of Interest, Controversy, and Concern 94

Southeast Asian Hunter-Gatherers Today 102

6 Swidden Farmers 109

Rice 110

Tribal Farmers 113

7 Peasant Farmers and Their Transformations 123

Development of Rice Cultivation in a Thai Village 129

Changes in Peasant Farming across Southeast Asia 132

Agrarian Developments in Nonsocialist and Socialist Countries 134

8 Indigenous Religion 143

Animism 144

Malevolent Spirits and Bad Death 153

Two-Stage Mortuary Practices 160

Spirit Possession, Spirit Mediums, and Shamanism 165

Sorcery and Witchcraft 171

9 Religion, Society, and the State 179

World Religions and their Characteristics in Southeast Asia 179

Anthropological Study of World Religions 183

Disputes and Disagreements about Islam and Buddhism 184

Religion and the State 191

10 Religious Conversion on the Ethnic Margins 203

The Extent of Conversion 205

Colonialism and Other Interpretations of Conversion 206

Conversion, Ethnicity, and Development 210

Consequences of Conversion 213

Conversion and Marginalization 217

11 Tourism and Local Peoples 221

The Impact of Tourism on Local Peoples 225

Bali 226

Longhouse Tourism in Sarawak, Malaysia 229

Ethnic Tourism in Northern Mainland Southeast Asia 237

12 Development for Better or Worse 251

Development and Making People Visible 253

Development and Classification 256

Development and Poverty 261

Resettlement 262

Land Enclosures and the Assault on Swidden Cultivation 268

Development and Houses 272

Development and Mobility 277

Notes 279

References and Suggested Reading 287

Index 303

About the Author 319

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