Animism and Interconnectivity : Batek and Manya’ Life on the Periphery of the Malaysian Rainforest

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-4711-0
Title: Animism and Interconnectivity : Batek and Manya’ Life on the Periphery of the Malaysian Rainforest
Author: Tacey, Ivan
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Social and Cultural Anthropology
Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Belongs to series: Research Series in Anthropology - URN:ISSN:1458-3186
Abstract: Animism and Interconnectivity is an ethnographic study of Batek Dè’ and Manya’ religion on the periphery of the Malaysian rainforest. In the twenty-first century, the lives of these two small-scale groups of former hunter-gatherers take place on the interconnected frontier between forest and the outside world, a nexus of different ideas, peoples and objects of diverse origins. Through an examination of specific events occurring in particular places on the forest periphery, the thesis highlights changes and continuities in shamanistic practices, myths, cosmologies and relations with other-than-human beings in the transformed physical and social landscape. Each chapter presents ethnographic vignettes and case-studies as a means of providing concrete examples of how contemporary Batek and Manya’ animism is shaped by ongoing socio-economic, political and environmental change in twenty-first century Malaysia. Recent approaches to animism have frequently focused on constructions of distributed agency and personhood within local environments while downplaying, or even ignoring, complex historical and contemporary interactions between indigenous peoples and other social groups. This thesis rebalances this through an examination of contemporary forms and practices of animism within a context of political exclusions, environmental degradation and marginalization. In theorizing animism through interconnectivity, the thesis draws attention to the multiple and convoluted entanglements which emerge on the interconnected zone of the forest periphery. For Bateks, these entanglements entail oscillating between connectivity and separation, integration and rupture. Connectivity is both empowering and debilitating, the various modalities it takes must be understood as shaping animistic forms and practices within a context of shifting political and ecological conditions.Animism and Interconnectivity is an ethnographic study of Batek Dè’ and Manya’ religion on the periphery of the Malaysian rainforest. In the twenty-first century, the lives of these two small-scale groups of former hunter-gatherers take place on the interconnected frontier between forest and the outside world, a nexus of different ideas, peoples and objects of diverse origins. Contesting views of animism as an objectified and timeless ontology, the study adopts a politicizing and historicizing approach. It explores how political marginalization, rapid environmental change and historical conditions of subordination and violence have shaped changes and continuities in shamanistic practices, myths, cosmologies and relations with other-than-human beings. Through an examination of specific events in particular places on the forest periphery, it highlights the many qualities and shades of interconnection to show the depth and breadth of its impact on animistic forms and practices.
URI: URN:ISBN:978-951-51-4711-0
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/265101
Date: 2018-12-15
Subject: Anthropology
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.


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