Revolutionaries and Reformers in Lao Buddhism

By Patrice Ladwig

© 2012 – Routledge

240 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415684873
pub: 2016-01-14
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About the Book

Laos remains one of the few officially socialist countries in the world. Once a Buddhist kingdom, its involvement into the Vietnam War, the communist revolution of 1975 and the subsequent introduction of reformed socialism have deeply affected Buddhism, the religion of the ethnic majority. With a historical and anthropological focus on the religious field in the capital Vientiane, the book follows these transformations and extrapolates the ruptures and continuities of Buddhist religious life from 1958 to the present. Focusing on the intertwined fields of ethics, ritual gift exchange and the Buddhist sangha’s relationship to the Lao state, the study takes a detailed look at the change of religious practices in an urban setting.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Buddhist Socialism and the Bricolage Revolution 1. The Shape of Things to Come: Politics and the Lao Sangha before the Revolution 2. Social Engineering and State Effects: The Socialist Bricolage Revolution and its Impact on Buddhism Part 2: Buddhist Ethics and Giving between New Socialist Man and Contemporary Narrative Discourse 3. Giving as a Buddhist Technology of the Self: From Limited Exchange under Socialism to Transnational Dana 4. Narrative Ethics: The Excess of Giving and Moral Ambiguity in the Lao Vessantara-Jataka Part 3: Buddhism under Reformed Socialism 5. Between Cultural Preservation and This-Worldly Commitment: Socially Engaged Buddhism in Laos 6. The Controlled Revitalisation of Buddhism and the Spectres of Reformed Socialism. Conclusion

About the Author

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism is a comprehensive study of the Buddhist tradition. The series explores this complex and extensive tradition from a variety of perspectives, using a range of different methodologies. The series is diverse in its focus, including historical, philological, cultural, and sociological investigations into the manifold features and expressions of Buddhism worldwide. It also presents works of constructive and reflective analysis, including the role of Buddhist thought and scholarship in a contemporary, critical context and in the light of current social issues. The series is expansive and imaginative in scope, spanning more than two and a half millennia of Buddhist history. It is receptive to all research works that are of significance and interest to the broader field of Buddhist Studies.

Some of the titles in the series are published in association with the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, which conducts and promotes rigorous teaching and research into all forms of the Buddhist tradition.

Editorial Advisory Board:
James A. Benn, McMaster University, Canada

Jinhua Chen, The University of British Columbia, Canada

Rupert Gethin, University of Bristol, UK

Peter Harvey, University of Sunderland, UK

Sallie King, James Madison University, USA

Anne Klein, Rice University, USA

Lori Meeks, University of Southern California, USA;

Ulrich Pagel, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

John Powers, Australian National University, Australia;

Juliane Schober, Arizona State University, USA

Vesna A. Wallace, Oxford University, UK

Michael Zimmermann, University of Hamburg, Germany

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
REL007020
RELIGION / Buddhism / Rituals & Practice
SOC008000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General