Meeting at the Alliance Franšaise, Chiang
Mai: “Re-enchantment of the Ganesha Cult: 'Action At a Distance'
through Social Media”.
27 November 2018.
A Talk by Arratee Ayutacorn (อารตี
The study investigates the effect of media technologies on ritual
practice and belief of Ganesh cult in Chiang Mai. With the rise of
internet, social media, and mobile use, spirit cults increasingly
penetrate into people lives. This study argues that scientific
rationalism in modern era does not diminished religious enchantment
because religious belief and practices have been adjusted to modern
society. The rise of spirit cults reflects religion
re-enchantment that respond the need of people in consumerism society.
not destroy the persistence of spirit cults but it
helps in establishing and distributing a new cult through technology
and mass media.
Social media is crucial for publicizing Ganesh
cult belief. Media technology is employed as a means of evangelizing
membership and solidifying identity. It mediates the interaction
between people and spirit cult with unrestricted freedom. The distance
between spirit cult and people is abolished since they could
participate the ritual events online. The followers ‘act at a distance’
but they still receive the authentic sense of spirit cult. It is shown
that spirit cult is increasingly attached to everyday life. The
secularization process relegates
religious life into the realm of private life.
AYUTTACORN is a lecturer at the Department of Social Science and
Development, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University. Her
research interests include affective economy and body politics of
flight attendants, and symbolic economy of Ganesh cult. Recently, she
has conducted research focusing on Shan female migrants who live with
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