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Waves of change: traditional religion among the Urak Lawoi, sea nomads of Ko Lanta, Thailand
University of Gävle, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ämnesavdelningen för kultur- och religionsvetenskap.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay is the result of a field study in Ko Lanta in Thailand, during October-December 2009. The purpose of the study was to document the traditional religion of Urak Lawoi and to analyze in what way their life and beliefs have changed during the last 20 years.

Urak Lawoi is the name of one of the sea nomadic ethnic groups who lives along the shores of Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia. They are spread on many of the islands in the Andaman Sea archipelago and Ko Lanta is the main settlement. Ural Lawoi is regarded as the indigenous people of the island and they live there as a minority with Muslims and Thai-Chinese.

The traditional religion of Urak Lawoi is built upon the animistic belief of their ancestors. The religious leader and link between the spirit world and the humans is the To Maw. The family bonds are strong in the Urak Lawoi community and the elders play an important role in life and after death, when they can keep on watching out for their offspring. For the living it is important to do the rituals and ceremonies in the right way to obtain good luck and avoid bad luck.

In the last 20 years Ko Lanta has experienced a tremendous process of change caused by the increasing tourism. The conditions of the Urak Lawoi and their way of life have dramatically changed. The modern society with money economy, new technical solutions and a rationalized large-scale fishing has rapidly changed their way of life. The tsunami catastrophe, and the following attention from help organizations and missionary activities, has escalated the process. The traditional religion and culture of the Urak Lawoi is still present on the island but it is declining and changing under the influence of the constant pressure from other interests.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , p. 58
Keywords [en]
history of religion, anthropology of religion, Thailand, Andaman Sea, Ko Lanta, Urak Lawoi, sea gypsies, sea nomads, Chao Ley, Thai Mai, animism, tourism, tsunami, spirit
National Category
History of Religions Religious Studies Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-6359Archive number: HRV:C10:5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-6359DiVA, id: diva2:292880
Presentation
(Swedish)
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
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Examiners
Available from: 2010-04-20 Created: 2010-02-10 Last updated: 2010-05-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
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Language
  • sv-SE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf