Thien Do: Vietnamese Supernaturalism. Views from the Southern Region
This is a fascinatingly valuable book on recent and contemporary religion in Vietnam, focused above all on the concept of linh (supernatural power) and seeking to locate the vitality of a range of religious practices and orientations in the paradoxes of postcolonial (and unified) Vietnam. It emerges that leaders and participants in religious activities wish to influence daily life to their various advantage while cultivating an independent "spiritual" position which is able to resist the threat of domination from elsewhere. Considering that the title is unavoidably reminiscent of Melford Spiro's Burmese Supernaturalism (1967, 1978), which however, strangely, is not in the bibliography, it is interesting to see how far academic styles of writing have changed since then.
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