Everyday Life in Southeast Asia

Everyday Life in Southeast Asia

Everyday Life in Southeast Asia

Everyday Life in Southeast Asia

Synopsis

This lively survey of the peoples, cultures, and societies of Southeast Asia introduces a region of tremendous geographic, linguistic, historical, and religious diversity. Encompassing both mainland and island countries, these engaging essays describe personhood and identity, family and household organization, nation-states, religion, popular culture and the arts, the legacies of war and recovery, globalization, and the environment. Throughout, the focus is on the daily lives and experiences of ordinary people. Most of the essays are original to this volume, while a few are widely taught classics. All were chosen for their timeliness and interest, and are ideally suited for the classroom.

Excerpt

Southeast Asia is one of the most dynamic, complex, and fascinating areas of the world. And yet, for most Americans, it also remains one of the world’s least understood regions. Often, people lump it into the category of Asia (along with China, Japan, Korea) and are unaware that Southeast Asia includes eleven very diverse countries. American news media portrayals of Southeast Asia tend to present it in sensational terms: as the setting for some of our major wars (World War II, the Vietnam War); as an incubation zone for militant Muslims; as a natural disaster–prone “Ring of Fire”; or as a region that generates despotic leaders, refugees, and labor migrants. Alternatively, travel media and some tourist blogs present more “seductive” visions of Southeast Asia: as an exotic tropical vacation zone, surfers’ heaven, bargain shopping Mecca, sex tourism destination, homeland of lovely “mail order” brides and delectable spicy cuisine. There are some truths here, but these are partial truths. There is far more to Southeast Asia than these extreme and often problematic stereotypes belie.

This volume represents our efforts to convey some of the richness and complexity of Southeast Asia via explorations of the daily lives and experiences of diverse people living in this region. In approaching contributors for this volume, we requested essays featuring the everyday practices of ordinary people rather than purely theoretical pieces. Highlighting the minutiae of everyday life—dressing, conversing, schooling, seeking livelihoods, rituals, recreational activities, and so forth—offers a provocative lens for reflecting on more abstract cultural principles and transformations. People’s ordinary everyday activities, even when apparently distinct from other dimensions of life, are invariably tethered to broader social, economic, and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.