Life cycle rituals and the booming economy. Ordinations, funerals, and ethical change in urban Lao Buddhism

(subproject of the Max Planck Cambridge Centre for Ethics, Economy and Social Change)

Patrice Ladwig

The current project examines the interdependence of economic modernization and ethical change through the prism of Buddhist life-cycle rituals. With a focus on ordinations and funerals as the two most important rites of passage in Theravada Buddhist Southeast Asia, it researches how the economic boom in urban Laos has transformed these rites. Taking as a starting point the moral economy and donation-based exchanges between laypeople and monks as ritual experts, the project sets out to explore how associated values and practices have changed with respect to ethics under conditions of the recent economic boom and increasing social stratification.  

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