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Đao Mau religious practices : the soft power and everyday lives of women in contemporary Vietnam

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Item Summary

Title:Đao Mau religious practices : the soft power and everyday lives of women in contemporary Vietnam
Authors:Vu, Tu Anh Thi
Keywords:Dao Mau
Date Issued:Aug 2011
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2011]
Abstract:The Đao Mau is a folk religion without the necessity of theology, ethics, a structured organization, and formal membership requirements. Its focus is on ritual performed to secure the support of the spirits to gain good fortune, health, or wealth. This dissertation has sought to understand through personal interviews and participant observations the lifeworld of Đao Mau women especially those called to be ñông and ñông thây. How does the practice of Đao Mau affect their lives, and become a source of empowerment to help them better cope with the problems of everyday lives? This empowering effect is at once the source of the happiness of these women, and the reason for this religious persistence as a vital force in Vietnamese society. It comes from involvement with other women and the development of networks of encouragement and support-a sisterhood, coming through spirit possession during the lên ñông ritual ceremony. The lifeworld of Đao Mau women, imbued with ceremony, is a world of obligations. Each individual is a nexus of obligations that produce and are reproduced through ritual processes. Within the nexus, there is no recognized room for exercising that aspect of the self or the agency of willing, the inner self so to speak. However, by performing the ritual and actualizing the outer forms that is the obligation, one is enabled to "go beyond the norm" to surpass the bounds of ritual form and to realize an inner self in its agency, an experience or exercise which we call "soft power". This soft power is not about compliance, nor submission, nor resistance, nor total conformity but a capacity for self-actualization. This study suggests the soft power approach by which Đao Mau empowers women is a viable way of bringing about change through personal development, an approach which fits the culture of Vietnam without the overthrow of traditional values and the social dislocation this brings.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: Anthropology Ph.D Dissertations
Ph.D. - Anthropology

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