Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses
Thursday, 01 December 2005
The Funeral Casino: Meditation, Massacre, and Exchange with the Dead in
Thailand, ch. 6, pp. 169-230.
Klima’s thesis about images – talk about 9/11 to contextualize what we’ve read in these last 2
When you have a space of mass death that is explicitly political, are there ways to
commemorate that is more ‘universal’?
What types of markets would have developed in the aftermath of such a visible crisis?
have the exchanges between people and the dead.
Buddhist funeral practices,
identifying them as an economy, a gift exchange.
If a person has not received their proper respects after death, there is a potential that they
could be a source of affliction.
The idea that the individual who does give gifts/charity accumulates merit, whereas the
mediator gives offerings to the temple – this is where Klima addresses the
of death, the
gift exchange network
that is evolving.
Klima then talks about the
People were interested in visually seeing what
happened during the May 1992 massacres.
The exchange was
just a local thing –
international news media were
through various channels.
Which images had the most exchange value?
The most gruesome images were most coveted!
In the US, when do we ever see
images of horror
War and hunger – it’s always images of
It’s not a political thing in the over sense – they’re not showing us images of direct
Our media shows something that tends to be at a distance and people who are “others”
who are in the weakest, most depraved, most downtrodden state.
In Thailand, with
in the media and the availability of the
footage of massacres
the black market – this created on some level its own economy.
The images that proliferated
the nation and were related to the image of the nation
as a whole
internationally – all
related to the
link between Thailand and the global economy
(e.g. post 1992 massacre,
economy diminished, foreign investment compromised, tourism declined).
Klima then argues that through all of this, there were two
sites of power
that were reinforced
through the proliferation of these graphic images – the
Sovereign was still the moral authority of the nation.
How was the national image of Thailand restored post massacre?
Images of the hunger striker
and the king together.
Double image campaign inviting outsiders into Thailand to prove all was
Klima is emphasizing the
role of images.
dimension of the political body
(remember Scheper-Hughes and Lock) – how images of the
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