Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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This paper aims to study the dynamics of power relations in the "Chao Luang Kham Daeng"/เจ้าหลวงคำแดง spirit cult of the Tai Yuan people in Chiang Mai and Phayao provinces. In the past, the spirit cult was followed by the rulers of Chiang Mai city. Later on and nowadays, it has been downgraded to be the responsibility of the district level. Therefore, it is interesting to investigate the arrangement of the spirit cult in contemporary Lanna context. The research results reveal the declaration of the ritual space and arrangement by various parties, i.e., the state, the community and the villagers. The government supports the budget for the ritual, however, the control and running of the cult is under the power of local people. Local leaders have power in producing and publicizing the discourses of the cult. Some have knowledge of the ritual performance and some have power in the management and the control of the performances including women who also have a certain space in the preparation of the rituals. The spirit cult can thus be viewed as a space for negotiation among various sides: the state, the community, certain local leaders and women, all of whom declare their power in the ritual.

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