Yoko Hayami, Between Hills and Plains: Power and Practice in Socio-Religious Dynamics among Karen Hardcover
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Located betwixt and between the hills and the plains, tradition and modernity , the peripheries and the mainstream of the modern nation-state, Hayami s study of the Karen in northwestern Thailand provides a window into the ways people adapt their practices and values in the face of encroaching social and economic forces. Re-examining the historical records while providing a detailed ethnographic account of customary rituals and practices, Hayami overturns previous interpretations of religious adaptation which suggested that the uptake of Christianity and Buddhism in the region has been superficially concerned with embodied practices at the expense of doctrinal conformity. Arguing that such an interpretation is trapped within an ideological understanding of religion, Hayami demonstrates here that the Karen are active participants in seeking out, adapting and adopting new religious practices in ways that enable the maintenance of communal boundaries and cultural particularity at the same time as they integrate themselves into the broader stream of Thai society.

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