Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
In the Place of Origins: Modernity and Its Mediums in Northern Thailand (Body, Commodity, Text) Paperback – April 21, 2000
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From the Publisher
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Granted, the topic is interesting. Chiang Mai and northern Thailand are fascinating places, with a distinctive culture that mixes tradition with modernity. Mediums are part of the local landscape and, far from receding from the scene, they have benefited from a veritable explosion of magical practices. People turn to mediums and spirits for personal or professional purposes: for love and marriage, power and money, health and luck. Stereotypically, those seeking advice about love and beauty are young women, those wanting luck and physical prowess, young men. Business advice is as often the concern of middle-aged women as of men, but healing is a universal need. In the homes of mediums, one is apt to encounter bankers and real estate entrepreneurs, local politicians and mafia thugs, all coming for consultation and advice.Read more ›