Abstract

Abstract:

This essay investigates how hierarchical differences and prejudices shape communities of nat kana pwe, urban spirit- possession ceremonies, in central Burma/Myanmar. Looking at the widespread ideas surrounding Buddhist religious values, gender roles, artistic status, and financial success in Burmese society, it argues that hierarchical thinking regulates the social interactions between professional spirit mediums (nat kadaw), musicians of the nat hsaing (drums and gongs ensemble), and spirit devotees. Drawing on the narratives of the participants themselves, the essay discusses how prejudice contributes to modeling the status and prestige of the ritual actors and how they are able to reverse the normal relationships of power.

Abstract:

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