The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze the mobility and the dynamics of social networking of Buddhist novices' in a village in northern Laos, based on historical context of the local area. The villagers are mostly Lue, descended from migrants into the area from southern China about 500 years ago, who developed their traditions and customs under the influence of Theravada Buddhism. In the process of nation building through colonization, civil war and socialist revolution, Buddhism has attracted political attention and been subjected to regulation by the Lao government. In addition to the institutionalization and centralization of the clergy, villagers' religious practices have been affected by penetration of a money economy, improvements in transportation and implementation of development policies.
Traditionally, ordination as a novice was a rite of passage to manhood in the village, and thus most men became novices and returned to life in the village after disrobing. Since the 1980s, however, many novices have moved to urban areas for education and to experience urban life. Most of them returned to secular life after completion of their study, found a job and stayed in the urban areas, while constructing and mobilizing their social relationships there, and keeping in touch with fellow villagers for mutual support. This paper argues that the social network and the living space of people have expanded by their practice of mutual assistance suited to the time and situation.
This study examines the issue of war between the Daasanach and neighboring pastoral groups in the border area of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan from the perspective of the individual. Most previous anthropological studies of war have focused on the relation of war to the ecological setting, social structure, cultural logic, or historical background of a given area, often presupposing that when war breaks out, individuals act in subordination to certain external norms. There are two problems with such an approach. First, studies of the causes and social functions of war have often not considered the actual physical violence that occurs on the battlefield and its influence on the individual. Second, insufficient attention has been paid to individual decision-making processes and choices of action.
Among the Daasanach, it is adult males who are expected to go to war. Nevertheless, men do not homogeneously mobilize for war. In this paper, I examine (1) the ideology that mobilizes men to go to war, (2) individual experiences of the battlefield and how reflection on those experiences affects an individual's choice of action when the next war arises, and (3) how people accept others' decisions to join or abstain from a war.
Ethnic minorities in the central highlands of Vietnam each have their own “gong culture.” They believe that gods or goddesses reside in each gong, and thus the gong is a sacred symbol that is a significant part of their lives. Gongs have long been used as prestige goods, exchange goods, and sacred musical instruments played in important rituals and ceremonies such as funerals, farming rituals, grave abandonment ceremonies, inauguration ceremonies of communal houses, and buffalo sacrifice rituals. Gongs have also made their way into the Catholic Mass where they are played along with the Western organ. New-style gong ensembles, called “improved gong ensembles,” have appeared in places, presumably as a result of the influence of the Western music.
This paper first provides an overview of “gong culture” and analyzes the present opportunities for gong performances in the villages of Bahnar and Jarai. Then, the differences in playing styles and melodies of the “traditional” and “improved” gong ensemble are examined. The birth of the “improved gong ensemble” may be attributed to the underlying social changes, such as the conversions of many ethnic minorities to Catholicism and the growing presence of Western music. Finally, it is concluded that contemporary “gong culture” embraces two values: one is the value of diversity that characterizes the “traditional gong culture” and the other is the value of “improved gong ensemble” newly created by local people in keeping with the social changes.