This volume investigates various processes by which world religions become localized, as well as how local traditions in Southeast Asia and Melanesia become universalized. In the name of modernity and progress, the contemporary Southeast Asian states tend to press their populations to have a 'religion,' claiming that their local, indigenous practices and traditions do not constitute religion. Authors analyze this 'religionization,' addressing how local people appropriate religion as a category to define some of their practices as differentiated from others, whether they want to have a religion or are constrained to demonstrate that they profess one. Thus, 'religion' is what is regarded as such by these local actors, which might not correspond to what counts as religion for the observer. Furthermore, local actors do not always concur regarding what their religion is about, as religion is a contested issue. In consequence, each of the case studies in this volume purposes to elucidate what gets identified and legitimized as 'religion', by whom, for what purpose, and under what political conditions.
Michel Picard is a retired senior researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a founding member of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies ("Centre Asie du Sud-Est", CNRS-EHESS) in Paris. An anthropologist by training, he has published extensively in the field of Balinese studies, specifically on tourism, culture, identity, ethnicity and religion.
Introduction: Local Traditions and World Religions. Encountering 'Religion' in Southeast Asia and Melanesia
About Buddhist Burma. Thathana, or 'Religion' as Social Space
Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière
The (Re)configuration of the Buddhist Field in Post-Communist Cambodia
Anne Yvonne Guillou
Re-connecting the Ancestors: Buddhism and Animism on the Boloven Plateau, Laos
Balinese Religion in the Making: An enquiry About the Interpretation of Agama Hindu as 'Hinduism'
Chapter 6 Return to the Source: A Balinese Pilgrimage to India and the Re-enchantment of Agama Hindu
in global modernity
A Wall, Even in Those Days! Encounters with Religions and What Became of the Tradition
Encounters with Christianity in the North Moluccas (16th-19th Centuries)
Jos. D. M. Platenkamp
Continuity and Breaches in Religion and Globalization, a Melanesian Point of View