Terminally Haunted: Aviation Ghosts, Hybrid Buddhist Practices, and Disaster Aversion Strategies Amongst Airport Workers in Myanmar and Thailand

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Much of what is written about airports is from the perspective of a visionary architect, or from the experience of the cosmopolitan traveller. Airport workers, aside from their intimate knowledge of the airport space, know something about terminals that their designers and itinerant occupants do not: how they are haunted. In Yangon, Myanmar and Bangkok, Thailand, airport workers exchange occupational ghost lore regarding sightings, motives and histories of spirits within aviation. They also make use of hybrid Buddhist practices to ward off danger from airport spaces, and to make their own future travels safe and propitious. In addition to challenging the notion of the airport as the 'non-place', this paper demonstrates that ecumenical practices and hauntings crucially frame techno-modernity, uniting local and transregional culture with the global semantic legibility of the logistic superstructure of passenger aviation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-64
    JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
    Volume15
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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