SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Vol. 33/2 (July 2018)

SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Vol. 33/2 (July 2018)
Date of publication:  July 2018
Publisher:  ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
Number of pages:  234
Code:  SJ33/2


  • SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Vol. 33/2 (July 2018)
    [Whole Publication, ISSN: 17932858]
  • Preliminary pages
  • Plural Ecologies in Southeast Asia, by Guido Sprenger, Kristina Großmann, authors
    Grounded in Southeast Asia’s cultural, political, and environmental diversity, the five articles in this issue of <i>SOJOURN</i> not only document massive environmental transformations and the tremendous social exclusion that they entail, but also elaborate on conceptual shortcomings of modern universalist concepts of ecology. Shared understandings and basic definitions of terms guide all of the articles. Theoretically inclined to political ecology and the anthropology of ontologies, they employ political ontology as a major reference to bring those two approaches together. Analytically, the articles investigate a continuum of plurality, along which incompatible concepts of beings and relationships coexist, and hegemoniality, a process by which one ecology may marginalize or dominate others.
  • Buddhism and Coffee: The Transformation of Locality and Non-Human Personhood in Southern Laos, by Guido Sprenger, author
    Among Jru’ (Loven) uplanders in southern Laos, three different ecologies intersect. Animism focuses on local non-human persons like rice and earth spirits. Cash cropping elaborates translocal relationships with foreigners and technology, but reduces the extent of non-human personhood. Buddhism stresses both the translocal character and the transcendence of non-human persons. Villages are now in transition from subsistence swidden agriculture to coffee production and from animism to Buddhism. These two processes reinforce each other, as the question of non-human personhood defines both the differences and the potential conflicts between ecologies. The translocalization of local reproductive cycles thus conditions the decreased importance of non-humans as persons.
  • Market Shrines and Urban Renewal in Hanoi, by Gertrud Hüwelmeier, author
    Drawing on ideas of a “clean and green city”, recent municipal development policies in Hanoi have resulted in the demolition of a number of traditional marketplaces in favour of high-rise buildings. In its efforts to implement environmentalist policies, the city government and investors find themselves confronted with agentive forces of spirits and other non-humans, which play a significant role in negotiating and protecting urban space in a society increasingly characterized by the manifold dynamics of market socialism. An approach referring to the ecologies of urbanism permits examination of encounters between urban renewal and the spirit world.
  • Conflicting Ecologies in a “Failed” Gaharu Nursery Programme in Central Kalimantan, by Kristina Großmann, author
    A gaharu (Agarwood) nursery programme in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, failed mainly because the multiple ecologies of members of an environmental organization and indigenous people conflicted. The former believed that the trees that produced gaharu should be protected for their role in storing carbon emissions, and that the nursery programme should provide a “cultivated” income opportunity. In contrast, for Punan Murung, searching for and trading in heartwood embedded with resin offers the possibility of economic gain and of autonomy, while also serving as a marker for an indigenous seminomadic identity. Consideration of the varied relationships of actors with the environment, as these relations are intertwined with multifocal power structures, can further understanding of failures in participatory forest management programmes.
  • Claiming Rights to the Forest in East Kalimantan: Challenging Power and Presenting Culture, by Michaela Haug, author
    Dayak individuals and groups engage in plural ecologies — characterized by different ways of integrating humans and non-humans and by different conceptions of “nature”, “land”, and “development”. Two struggles for the maintenance of customary rights in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, exemplify this engagement. One is a rather forlorn dispute over land with a coal mining company, and the other a promising attempt to secure customary rights to a forested mountain area. Focus on individual and collective actors in these struggles allows consideration of how people appropriate and engage with different and partly contradictory ontological assumptions.
  • Diverging Ecologies on Bali, by Birgit Bräuchler, author
    Land reclamation plans in the south of Bali have triggered local protest on an unprecedented scale. An ecological plurality combined with diverging understandings of nature, environmental protection and sacredness threaten to tear apart Balinese society. The government and the private sector use a techno-interventionist argument, while activists draw on an environmentalist and human rights repertoire, at the same time increasingly joining hands with religious and <i>adat</i> figures who seek to maintain cosmic balance. An ontological perspective on the protest helps us to understand the intricacies of movement dynamics and enables marginalized people to enter politics on their own terms. However, its exclusionary potential also feeds into xenophobic political campaigns that promote societal segregation.
  • On "Mapping Chinese Rangoon: Place and Nation among the Sino-Burmese" by Jayde Lin Roberts, by Hui Yew-Foong, Wen-Chin Chang, Jayde Lin Roberts, authors
  • BOOK REVIEW: Vamping the Stage: Female Voices of Asian Modernities, edited by Andrew N. Weintraub and Bart Barendregt, by Craig A Lockard, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Caring for Strangers: Filipino Medical Workers in Asia, by Megha Amrith, by Anju Mary Paul, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Nanyang huazong: Malaixiya pili yibao yandong miaoyu shilu yu chuanshuo 南洋華蹤: 馬來西亞霹靂怡保岩洞廟宇史錄與傳說 [Trails of the Nanyang Chinese: History and legends of the cave temples in Ipoh of Malaysia], edited by Tan Ai Boay 陳愛梅 and Toh Teong Chuan 杜忠全, by Jack Meng-Tat Chia, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: A Meeting of Masks: Status, Power and Hierarchy in Bangkok, by Sophorntavy Vorng, by James Ockey, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Heritage and Identity in Contemporary Thailand: Memory, Place and Power, by Ross King, by Ploysri Porananond, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Vietnam’s Lost Revolution: Ngô Đình Diệm's Failure to Build an Independent Nation, 1955–1963, by Geoffrey C. Stewart, by Mitchell Tan, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Imperial Bandits: Outlaws and Rebels in the China-Vietnam Borderlands, by Bradley Camp Davis, by Amnuayvit Thitibordin, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Singapore’s Permanent Territorial Revolution: Fifty Years in Fifty Maps, by Rodolphe De Koninck, by Pearlyn Y Pang, author
  • Bupphesanniwat Fever: Gendered Nationalism and Middle-Class Views of Thailand’s Political Predicament, by Patrick Jory, author
    From February to April 2018 Thailand was captivated by a historical-romantic soap opera screened on Channel 3 television, <i>Bupphesanniwat.</i> The series is set in the late seventeenth century at a time of Siam’s heightened commercial and political engagement with Western countries and with Westerners, especially the French. The series culminates with the 1688 “revolution”, when the pro-French faction led by King Narai was overthrown by forces loyal to Phra Phetracha, who proceeded to usurp the throne and establish a new dynasty at Ayutthaya. What are the reasons for — and possible implications of — the wild popularity of the series?
  • Claiming History: Memoirs of the Struggle against Ferdinand Marcos’s Martial Law Regime in the Philippines, by Portia L Reyes, author
    The year 2012 saw publication of three volumes of memoirs dealing with the Martial Law period of 1972–81 in Philippine history. Although multiple individuals wrote these memoirs, their narratives illustrate a shared sense of allegiance to a community. Collectively, their recollections also embody a counter-hegemonic account of the period, introducing alternative subjectivities and individual voices that contribute to the democratization of history and its writing in the Philippines.

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