Shamanic gender liminality with specific reference to the NatKadaw of Myanmar and the Bissu of Sulawesi.

Purday, Kevin Michael (2013) Shamanic gender liminality with specific reference to the NatKadaw of Myanmar and the Bissu of Sulawesi. Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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This piece of research sets out to discover why co-gendered shamans are flourishing in Myanmar but have all but disappeared on Sulawesi. A review of the literature, firstly, on shamanic liminality in general and, secondly, shamanic gender liminality in particular, reveals that there are three main ways of linking gender liminality with becoming a shaman. In the first the calling comes beforehand and becoming cogendered follows afterwards. In the second being co-gendered comes first and the calling follows. In the third, there is no intrinsic link between gender liminality and becoming a shaman. The first type seems no longer to exist. Fieldwork among the Bugis people on Sulawesi reveals that the second type is just surviving while fieldwork in Myanmar shows that the third type is flourishing but with co-gendered shamans now forming the majority. By interviewing NatKadaw, Burmese shamans, and studying the nature of society in Myanmar, it becomes apparent that there are many reasons to explain why co-gendered NatKadaw have become so numerous and so popular. Buddhism, however, is the over-arching factor. On Sulawesi, once again a combination of interviews and a study of the island’s history reveals the complexity behind the decline in numbers of the Bissu, the Bugis shamans. Again religion is the over-arching factor – in this case Islam. The study concludes, however, that in spite of the differences between the NatKadaw and the Bissu, there is a tendency for both to become entertainers albeit that the NatKadaw are popular entertainers while the Bissu were until recently involved largely in high art. At the moment, however, the Bissu are rejecting the entertainment route and are developing in two different directions.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations;10412/268.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Shamans, Gender
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
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Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2014 17:51
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2016 15:59

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