Research Report

Research Report 7: Journeys to a Given Destination

An Insider’s View on Becoming a Spirit Medium (Then) in Van Quan District, Lang Son Province in Northern Vietnam

This paper examines the lives and experiences of Tay female Then practitioners, who are the ‘master of spirits’ within the communities of Văn Quan District, Lạng Sơn Province in the northeast of Vietnam. It specifically covers the issue as to why these women become Then and how their new (Then practitioner) identity changes their lives. This paper, which is based upon the author’s numerous visits to Văn Quan since late 1998, goes beyond the purely ethnographic accounts and highlights the fact that spirit mediumship contributes to a ‘happier’ and more ‘secure’ life for those Tày females who become Then practitioners. The paper also emphasizes the fact that the practitioners’ different experiences and lives means they stand apart whilst at the same time being seen as normal in their community environment.

Publication date : 2012
Price : 180 Baht / 0 US$