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In the Place of Origins: Modernity and Its Mediums in Northern Thailand (Body, Commodity, Text) Paperback – April 21, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Body, Commodity, Text
  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (April 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822325179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822325178
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Traveling from spirit mediumship to the ethnography of the finance capital market, In the Place of Origins combines theoretical bravura with brilliant narrative skill. As it comments on ethnographic self-fashioning in Thailand, it also examines the mediumship of disciplinary ethnography, and the alterity it so anxiously seeks to expell. This is a text of dazzling instructive simplicity.”—Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University


“With this astutely conceived and exquisitely written account of the complexities of mediumship in Thai modernity, Rosalind Morris has taken ethnographic practice to a whole new level of theoretical as well as descriptive sophistication. It is a dazzling accomplishment.”—Rey Chow, University of California, Irvine

From the Publisher

“With this astutely conceived and exquisitely written account of the complexities of mediumship in Thai modernity, Rosalind Morris has taken ethnographic practice to a whole new level of theoretical as well as descriptive sophistication. It is a dazzling accomplishment.”—Rey Chow, University of California, Irvine

“Travelling from spirit mediumship to the ethnography of the finance capital market, In the Place of Origins combines theoretical bravura with brilliant narrative skill. As it comments on ethnographic self-fashioning in Thailand, it also examines the mediumship of disciplinary ethnography, and the alterity it so anxiously seeks to expell. This is a text of dazzling instructive simplicity.”—Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sundari-Nari on July 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book contains several interesting anecdotes about mediums in Northern Thailand, as well as Thai history and nation formation. If you don't know too much about Thailand, you will glean the type of insight that typically comes only after years of exposure to all things called "Thai." The bibliography is excellent.

The book's overall theme is fine. It's essentially a presentation of Northern Thailand's trendy, status-conscious clique of spirit mediums in the context of a showy and lucrative public phenomenon that displays some type of homesickness for the once-great Lanna Kingdom, which was usurped by Thai nationalism. (Described in the book as a quasi-religious opiate of the psychically impoverished masses, I will still admit to being a little bit "high" on the "almost narcotic" value of Thainess.)

However, I question the language and reason behind many parts of the book. The text is rather convoluted; you will find 5-clause sentences with heavy indulgence in parentheticals. You might find the author overly concerned with verifying the authenticity of her knowledge and experience of the culture she describes.

For example, many phrases are "translated" into transliterated Thai, perhaps needlessly: "Indeed the growth in traffic 'problems,' referred to in the all-encompassing term 'jams' (rot tid), is compulsively remarked by residents as the sign of Chiang Mai's impending loss of authenticity." The word is ''''', and it means "traffic jam." Literally, "cars (physically) stopped." The value of inserting that word in Romanized Thai is not entirely clear to me.

Extensive knowledge is asserted, and yet the book is littered with linguistic misstatements or misunderstandings. Here are the two worst offenders, both about homonyms:

1) p.
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