Spirits out of place : relational landscapes and environmental change in East Kalimantan, Indonesia

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Herrmans , I 2020 , ' Spirits out of place : relational landscapes and environmental change in East Kalimantan, Indonesia ' , Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute , vol. 26 , no. 4 , pp. 766-785 . https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.13413

Title: Spirits out of place : relational landscapes and environmental change in East Kalimantan, Indonesia
Author: Herrmans, Isabell
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science Subunit
Date: 2020-12
Language: eng
Number of pages: 20
Belongs to series: Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
ISSN: 1359-0987
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/335622
Abstract: This article examines interaction with spirits among the Luangan, a group of shifting cultivators in Indonesian Borneo. Through examples of different forms of Luangan spirit interaction, it interrogates the relationship between the spirit world and the natural environment, with special reference to what happens when the latter undergoes dramatic change. Inspired by Eduardo Kohn's understanding of how the spirit world is semiotically embedded within the rainforest environment, I explore how relations with nonhumans reflect historical and ongoing experiences of life and sociality in the forest and human domain, while superimposing a virtual relational landscape upon the natural landscape. It is proposed that spirit communication offers a means of refiguring human lives and alleviating debilitation, and that recurrent rituals enable Luangans to virtually maintain relations with unseen beings of the local environment, even where it has been thoroughly transformed through oil palm cultivation.
Subject: 5143 Social and cultural anthropology
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