Meeting : “Thailand’s Magical Stamps and the Mainstreaming of 21st Century Supernaturalism”.
Tuesday, 30th August 2016.
talk by Peter Anthony Jackson
the 1980s, many new supernatural movements have become highly visible
additions to Thailand’s spiritual landscape and religious marketplaces.
Seeking supernatural intervention to achieve success, wealth and
prosperity in Thailand’s expanding economy, these movements are often
only tangentially related to orthodox Theravada Buddhist teachings and
practice. They emerged in the context of Thailand’s economic boom in
the 1980s and 1990s, and have continued to grow in popularity through
the economic setbacks of the 1997 Asian economic crisis and the
political divisions that have beset Thai society over the past decade.
In this presentation I consider the further development of highly
commodified wealth-oriented forms of supernatural practice in early
21st century Thailand. The large number of colourful special issues of
Thai postage stamps devoted to supernatural cults of prosperity
released since 2004 reflects the relocation of these movements from the
margins to the center of national religious practice. These postage
stamp special issues also reflect a major shift in the regime of power
over the public imaging of participation in new forms of supernatural
ritual. No longer hidden or private, participation in supernatural
ritual is becoming an increasingly visible and sociologically
significant dimension of religious practice in early 21st century
Peter Anthony Jackson is Emeritus Professor at the College of Asia and
the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra. He has been a
pioneer before becoming an expert in the study of homosexuality and
queer studies in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Among his main books:
Dear Uncle Go: Male homosexuality in Thailand; Genders and sexualities
in modern Thailand (with Nerida M. Cook); Lady Boys, Tom Boys, Rent
Boys : Male and Female Homosexualities in Contemporary Thailand (With
Gerard Sullivan); Male homosexuality in Thailand; Queer Bangkok
(Includes a comprehensive bibliography.
(PDF File for downloading or reading on
line - 17 pages - includes minutes of the 406th Meeting: Tuesday, 12
July, 2016 “Statue-mania in the North! Sculpting and Casting Historical
Memory in Northern Thailand” A Talk by Taylor Easum).