Abstract

Abstract:

Considering the cases and life histories of three female spirit mediums who are adherents of the Mother Goddess religion in Viet Nam, this ethnographic study of Vietnamese spirit possession contributes to and clarifies longstanding debates regarding the distinction between mediums and shamans. Analyzing their life stories and drawing on theories of agency, this paper focuses on the ways in which female spirit mediums use their skills and capacities to practice the Mother Goddess religion, interpret their faith, and experience life and work as children of the Mother Goddesses. These three women have overcome the barriers of traditional society and have successfully found ways to assert themselves. Their agency, I argue, is not limited to the ritual space but is also evident in their active roles in their communities and society.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-5111
Print ISSN
1556-8547
Pages
pp. 252-276
Launched on MUSE
2020-12-10
Open Access
No
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