Seven papers explore the ways in which cultural identity and socioeconomic change among local societies in insular Southeast Asia are expressed in ritual


The range of rituals described in this book contributes to our understanding of the relationship between ritual and social change on several levels. Essays in this volume show that ritual often provides a significant commentary about the relationships between social change and cultural identity, and that it cannot be meaningfullt analyzed apart from other kinds of economic, social and political responses in the contemporary scene. Still, ritual may or may not prove viable within these overall changes underway, and generalizations must still be grounded in an understanding of the historical and empirical context in which these phenomena occur. Ritual events are historically dynamic phenomena, and though the cases presented here are marked by beginnings and ends, they are about still fluid, still unfinished happenings.Case studies explore the ways in which such rituals articulate, are shaped by, or lose relevance with increasing social, cultural, and economic integration, but at the same time possess their own historical dynamic. The result is a complex pattern, neither predetermined nor infinitely variable, of ritual change and persistence.

Susan D. RUSSELL is Presidential Engagement Professor of Anthropology at Northern Illinois University.Clark E. CUNNINGHAM is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois.