Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

(62) Contesting Religious Authority in Southeast Asia: Comparison Across Religions

3/23/2018
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Marriott Balcony A, Mezzanine Level

Buddhist monks refuse to acknowledge orders from central monastic leadership. Muslim authorities seek to suppress interpretations of doctrine that they consider to be heretical or dangerous. Charismatic preachers draw audiences (and legitimacy) away from more traditional Catholic and Protestant denominations.

The level of concentration or diffusion of formal religious authority varies across religions and by countries. Generally, more centralised hierarchies and recognised interpretive authority in Muslim-majority locations can be contrasted with the relatively decentralised and informal nature of religious authority in Buddhist-majority countries. However, this broad contrast belies the deep variation in formal religious organisation as well as the wide range of informal religious organisations. What happens when these informal groups challenge formal authorities? How are these contestations implicated in political and social structures and dynamics?

This panel considers challenges to formal religious authorities in Southeast Asia in comparative perspective, seeking to understand similarities in dynamics even where those formal authorities are organised in drastically different fashions and the norms of religious practice and authoritative interpretation also vary widely. In doing so, we aim to broaden discussions related to religio-cultural authority and the effects of these contestations of spiritual legitimacy.

Presentations:

Matthew J. Walton

University of Oxford, England, United Kingdom

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Dominik Müller

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Not Applicable, Germany

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Matthew J. Walton

University of Oxford, England, United Kingdom

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Matthew J. Walton

University of Oxford, England, United Kingdom

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Khin Mar Mar Kyi

University of Oxford, England, United Kingdom

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Aye Thein

University of Oxford, England, United Kingdom

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Dominik Müller

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Not Applicable, Germany

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David Kloos

Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, Not Applicable, Netherlands

Presentation(s):

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