“I Am Not Your Mother! I Am Phaengsri, the Goddess!” : A Medium’s Failure To Be A Good Daughter And Her Reconstruction of the Self

Visisya Pinthongvijayakul




This article explores a medium’s life-narrative which she employs to construct her personhood in a particular social world and specific situations, and discusses how spirit possession brings into play the fluid categories of the self that operate therapeutic procedures and the reestablishment of her social self through personal traumatic experiences in her family. The medium’s life-narrative indicates the conflict with her mother and family. The major issue involves the idiom of gratefulness that children should be good to their parents according to Buddhist orthodox of filial relationships. To negotiate in such a situation, the medium’s self had been reconstituted by directing the relationship from parental ties to spiritual ties. The ethnographic analysis demonstrates the problematic issues of kinship ties, local politics, and the meaning of health in a village in northeast Thailand in line with social change and capitalized forces in modern Thai society.


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 5/2012, Page 275-292)

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