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Edited by Volker Gottowik. Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia. Magic and Modernity

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GLOBAL ASIA Edited by Volker Gottowik Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia Magic and Modernity Publications The International Institute for Asian Studies is a research and exchange platform based in Leiden, the Netherlands. Its objective is to encourage the interdisciplinary and comparative study of Asia and to promote (inter)national cooperation. IIAS focuses on the humanities and social sciences and on their interaction with other sciences. It stimulates scholarship on Asia and is instrumental in forging research networks among Asia Scholars. Its main research interest are reflected in the three book series published with Amsterdam University Press: Global Asia, Asian Heritages and Asian Cities. IIAS acts as an international mediator, bringing together various parties in Asia and other parts of the world. The Institute works as a clearinghouse of knowledge and information. This entails activities such as providing information services, the construction and support of international networks and cooperative projects, and the organisation of seminars and conferences. In this way, IIAS functions as a window on Europe for non-european scholars and contributes to the cultural rapprochement between Europe and Asia. IIAS Publications Officer: Paul van der Velde IIAS Assistant Publications Officer: Mary Lynn van Dijk Global Asia Asia has a long history of transnational linkage with other parts of the world. Yet the contribution of Asian knowledge, values, and practices in the making of the modern world has largely been overlooked until recent years. The rise of Asia is often viewed as a challenge to the existing world order. Such a bifurcated view overlooks the fact that the global order has been shaped by Asian experiences as much as the global formation has shaped Asia. The Global Asia Series takes this understanding as the point of departure. It addresses contemporary issues related to transnational interactions within the Asian region, as well as Asia s projection into the world through the movement of goods, people, ideas, knowledge, ideologies, and so forth. The series aims to publish timely and well-researched books that will have the cumulative effect of developing new perspectives and theories about global Asia. Series Editor: Tak-Wing Ngo, Professor of Political Science, University of Macau, China Editorial Board: Kevin Hewison, Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Professor of Politics and International Studies, Murdoch University, Australia / Hagen Koo, Professor of Sociology, University of Hawaii, USA / Loraine Kennedy, Directrice de recherché, Centre d Études de l Inde et de l Asie du Sud, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France / Guobin Yang, Associate Professor, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, USA Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia Magic and Modernity Edited by Volker Gottowik Amsterdam University Press Publications Global Asia 2 Cover illustration: Chiang Khong, North Thailand, Volker Gottowik 2010 Cover design: Coördesign, Leiden Typesetting: Crius Group, Hulshout Amsterdam University Press English-language titles are distributed in the US and Canada by the University of Chicago Press. isbn e-isbn (pdf) nur 718 / 719 / 761 Volker Gottowik / Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2014 All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the written permission of both the copyright owners and the authors of the book. Table of Contents Preface 7 Introduction 9 Volker Gottowik Modern Spirits Spirits in and of Southeast Asia s Modernity 33 An Overview Peter J. Bräunlein The Social Placing of Religion and Spirituality in Vietnam in the Context of Asian Modernity 55 Perspectives for Research Michael Dickhardt Where the Dead Go to the Market 75 Market and Ritual as Social Systems in Upland Southeast Asia Guido Sprenger Modernity and Spirit Possession in Java 91 Horse Dance and Its Contested Magic Paul Christensen Modern Muslims Hadhrami Moderns 113 Recurrent Dynamics as Historical Rhymes of Indonesia s Reformist Islamic Organization Al-Irsyad Martin Slama Mubeng Beteng 133 A Contested Ritual of Circumambulation in Yogyakarta Susanne Rodemeier Muslim Modernities in Makassar and Yogyakarta 155 Negotiating the West as a Frame of Reference Melanie V. Nertz Cosmological Battles 175 Understanding Susceptibility and Resistance to Transnational Islamic Revivalism in Java Thomas Reuter Modern Traditions Modes of Interreligious Coexistence and Civility in Maluku 193 Birgit Bräuchler Ethnicity and Violence in Bali 217 And What Barong Landung Says about It Volker Gottowik Contested Moksa in Balinese Agama Hindu 237 Balinese Death Rituals between Ancestor Worship and Modern Hinduism Annette Hornbacher Good Girls 261 Christianity, Modernity and Gendered Morality in Tanah Karo, North Sumatra Karin Klenke Bukit Kasih, the Hill of Love 281 Multireligiosity for Pleasure Judith Schlehe Notes on Contributors 299 Bibliography 305 Preface Southeast Asia is a crossroads of many religious influences, which have always been treated syncretically. One precondition for this basically peaceful syncretism is the fact that the different religious communities largely eschew orthodoxy and content themselves with their followers commitment to a particular ritual practice (orthopractice). As a result, the superseding of indigenous religions by Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and other world religions has been left incomplete. As a result, today Southeast Asia still presents a highly complex culturally and religiously dynamic picture. The striving for supremacy of certain world religions is a relatively recent phenomenon in Southeast Asia. It is taking place in the wake of an expansion of the scriptural religions and their interpretation as monotheisms. Although these monotheistic religions largely appear to have superseded indigenous beliefs, in local conditions not only these beliefs but also the mechanisms of conflict regulation they have shaped have both survived. One of these mechanisms is religious practice organized not exactly along confessional lines, but rather incorporating adherents of different religious communities ritually and committing them normatively to common values. In this way, in many parts of Southeast Asia a local ethos has survived in confronting processes of globalization. This local ethos draws sustenance from the revitalization of putative traditions, which have simultaneously been subjected to an innovative process of reinterpretation. In this process, moments of a flexible and reflexive confrontation with both expanding world religions and Western modernity can be recognized. Against this background, indigenous religions function not least as a resource for a critique of modernization. As a result, the creative re-appropriation of traditional beliefs not only has far-reaching impacts on interethnic relations, but also casts new light on old theoretical conceptions, such as magic and modernity. The present volume deals with magic and modernity and asks about their current significance for the dynamics of religion in Southeast Asia. In altogether thirteen articles it is demonstrated how religious conceptions and magic practices contribute to meeting the challenges of modernity. Against this background, religion and modernity are no longer perceived as existing in contradiction; rather, it is argued that a revision of the western notion of religion is required to understand the complexity of multiple modernities in a globalized world. 8 Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia The present volume has resulted from a scientific network sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) over a period of four years. As a group of almost ten junior scholars from various universities in Germany, we were granted the opportunity to organize six conferences, invite colleagues and international guests and discuss with them the Religious Dynamics in Southeast Asia. We would like to thank first the respective anthropological departments at the universities of Münster, Munich, Freiburg, Göttingen and Frankfurt/M. which hosted our conferences, and secondly our international guests, who provided considerable inputs to productive discussions and a cordial working atmosphere: André Feillard (Paris), Goh Beng-Lan (Singapore/Leiden), Michel Picard (Paris), Thomas Reuter (Melbourne) and Peter van der Veer (Amsterdam/Göttingen). Finally we would like to thank the DFG for its generous support, including a publication grant which made this volume possible. In 2011, our scientific network was transferred into a competence network, sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which gave us the opportunity to continue our research on the Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia (DORISEA). While some contributors to this volume refer in their articles to previous and completed research projects, others have chosen to introduce their new projects and to present their initial findings. The mixture of articles referring to projects just started or just completed is due to the transitional stage or liminal period out of which the idea for this volume emerged. However, since the majority of contributors are associated with at least one of the two networks mentioned above, the present volume documents our continuous engagement with the dynamics of religion in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, we would like to thank the German Anthropological Association (DGV) for its support and also the two anonymous referees who provided encouraging criticism. Finally our gratitude goes to Amsterdam University Press and Mary Lynn van Dijk, who always offered advice, even when we have encroached on her patience. Readers who are interested in our ongoing research and want to follow how we have proceeded with our engagement with the dynamics of religion in Southeast Asia can take note of our homepage, where the latest information is provided: Introduction Volker Gottowik The present volume aims to analyze the relationship between religion and modernity in terms of the dynamic processes by which they are connected. In doing so, it draws on a variety of discourses in the social and cultural sciences that address the question of modernity by locating it between the conflicting priorities of the dis-enchantment and re-enchantment of the world. In these discourses, it is widely agreed that, particularly outside Western Europe, processes of secularization did not happen as predicted. However, an open question remains: if modernity is not able to transform religion into reason, what, then, can modernity do with religion? By explicitly raising this issue, the present volume tries to describe the dynamic relationship between religion and modernity by referring to Southeast Asia as an ethnographic example. Southeast Asia has always been a crossroads of many different influences from India, China and Europe. All global religions are represented in the area, and they interact not only with each other, but also with local belief systems. Majority religions in some parts of Southeast Asia find themselves to be minority religions in others. However, it is not only religions that crisscross geographical and political boundaries people do so as well. The result is an impressive network of ethnic and religious groups that define themselves not only in relation and in opposition to each other but also vis-à-vis a rapidly changing world. The present volume deals with the impact of modernity on ethnic and religious plurality in Southeast Asia with special reference to these interactive processes. According to modernization theory, one of the master narratives of the second half of the twentieth century, the relationship between modernity and religion is competitive, contradictory and mutually exclusive. The assumption has prevailed in the social and cultural sciences that the differentiation of capitalist forms of economy and the modern nation-state, together with the rationalization of the conduct of life, would subject religion to encompassing transformations. The thesis of the progressive secularization of the world is associated with Max Weber in particular, though in his works it remained peculiarly undetermined whether the Entzauberung der Welt would make religion disappear altogether or restrict it to the private sphere alone (cf. Weber 1985 [1922]: 612). Since then, however, it has become obvious that this universalistic approach was leading to arbitrary generalizations of some West European lines 10 Volker Got towik of development, while its teleological orientation remained largely strange, not least to scholars in Southeast Asian countries. On closer examination, however, this does not come as a surprise. The assumption was that, as a process of ongoing rationalization, modernization would proceed from the West and finally spread to all other continents: rooted in ancient Greece and Rome, re-emerging in Renaissance, blooming during the Age of Enlightenment, expanding with imperialism and culminating in the age of globalization, modernization was considered to be a universal phenomenon which, as an influential narrative, ultimately became a strong identity marker of the West vis-à-vis the rest of the world (cf. Asad 1993a: 18 and Houben & Schrempf 2008: 8). In any case, the West had defined itself strongly through this historical construction and made the project of modernity including its aim of material and moral progress exclusively its own (cf. Asad 1993a: 18). It was not only the formation of the nation-state and civil society, the development of a capitalist economy and rational conduct, but also the separation in principle of church and state and the granting of religious freedom that were considered to be crucial achievements of this Western-initiated process of modernization and differentiation, which would ultimately lead to greater freedom and prosperity for all. In this respect, modernity has its own history, conceptualized as an ongoing process with its own dynamics and a decisively predicted result: it was not only the rationalization of the world that was put on the agenda, but also its Westernization (cf. Asad 1993a: 18). At this point, however, it becomes obvious that modernity is not only profoundly historical, it is also profoundly ideological, a Eurocentric vision of universal teleology (Comaroff & Comaroff 1993: xxx). Against this background, the question raised in the present volume is how the ideology of modernity was able to expand and spread over the whole world. What is the attraction to being modern or becoming modern, or staying modern? From modernity to multiple modernities Historical concept analysis reveals that, from the beginning, the notions of modernity and the modern refer to the experience of time; their present use, however, reflects the growing importance of the future (cf. Kaufmann 1989: 38f.). This orientation towards the future finds its expression not least in everyday language, where progress and change in particular are Introduction 11 associated with modernity. Modernity stands for flexibility in the sense of the ability to produce constant adjustment and modification, thereby turning into a category of revision and transformation. In other words, the programme of modernity is perfectibility (cf. Kaufmann 1989: 39, 41). The constant search for the very latest as what is supposed to be better leads to a situation in which the future, defined as an open future, denigrates the present and challenges the past. For this reason, modernity is best understood as the legitimization of permanent change (Kaufmann 1989: 35). For modern man to adapt to the dynamics of change is an ongoing requirement if he wants to avoid the stigma of being old-fashioned, since what is modern today is already considered backward tomorrow. Modernity has to renew itself constantly on its own terms and to overcome what it has generated as recently as yesterday. The ambivalence of modernity becomes apparent at this point, as does its inherent antinomy, which promotes its internal dynamics and impels it to spread globally (cf. Eisenstadt 2000b: 245): modernity is a future-oriented project that requires constant transformations towards its unattainable completion. To be modern implies keeping pace with the times and anticipating tomorrow s trends today. As it is associated with being educated, sophisticated and development-oriented, to be modern has positive connotations that are advocated and appreciated socially. They charge the idea of modernity with a normative substance, which fueled the implementation of its central ideas (cf. Joas 2012: 23). The degree to which modernity s ideas are normatively grounded becomes apparent when modernity is seen as a global project: the Projekt der Moderne consists, in the words of Jürgen Habermas (1994: 42), in developing science, morality, law and the arts undeterred and to use their cognitive potential for a rational re-organization of living conditions. Being essentially unvollendet or unfinished, modernity captures all spheres of society economy, politics, culture and imposes itself on its members through education, the media etc., although with different and sometimes surprising results. However, the almost magic aura of modernity, to which the title of this volume alludes, becomes apparent at this point: modernity is able not only to subject all spheres of life to the dynamics of transformation, but also to legitimize this transformation, as it is supposed to redound to the advantage of all. In so doing, modernity has triggered one of the strongest social and political dynamics in the history of mankind (cf. Eisenstadt 2000b: 26). However, the expansion of modernity has resulted not in a unilinear process of modernization and a singular or global modernity but in a variety of 12 Volker Got towik modernities, i.e. multiple modernities. This expression was used by Shmuel Eisenstadt to stress that modernity and Westernization are not identical (2000a: 2f.). Eisenstadt conceives modernity as a culture or cultural form that originated in the West, expanded analogues to the world religions, and evolved or materialized at different places in different ways (cf. Eisenstadt 2006a: 1 and 2006b: 37). Against conventional convictions, which emphasize the primacy of the economic system as the substructure of society, the conception of multiple modernities highlights the cultural dimensions of modernity and its locally specific characteristics. Such a cultural theory of modernity (C. Taylor 2001: 172) avoids any universalistic determinism and stresses instead the interaction between global and local influences which always endow modernity with a place and a culturally specific appearance. In the course of this interaction, some aspects of modernity converge, while others diverge, and divergence in convergence (C. Taylor 2001: 185) has become characteristic of global modernization processes. These processes have resulted in the apparent paradox that people in the world now share much in common at the same time that they are as differentiated, diverse, and even more unequal than they were before (Knauft 2002: 22). However, as a consequence of the multiplication of modernity, designations for these modernities have multiplied too, with not only multiple modernities, but also entangled and uneven modernities, indigenous and alternative modernities, local and vernacular modernities, etc. They all challenge in varying degrees the universality of the concept of modernity and stress that, as an analytic concept, modernity can only be used in the plural or in a localized form. In other words: Modernity has become global ( ) [but] is importantly regional
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