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Shamans, Nostalgias, and the IMFSouth Korean Popular Religion in Motion$
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Laurel Kendall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833435

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833435.001.0001

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The Ambiguities of Becoming

The Ambiguities of Becoming

Phony Shamans and What Are Mudang After All?

Chapter:
(p.102) 4 The Ambiguities of Becoming
Source:
Shamans, Nostalgias, and the IMF
Author(s):

Laurel Kendall

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824833435.003.0004

This chapter continues the discussion of inspiration and skilled performance that began in Chapter 3, asking what it means to become a shaman in the present Korean moment. It introduces three flesh-and-blood shamans, all under the age of forty in the 1990s. These three women defy any easy generalization, but, in that fact alone, they suggest a complex range of styles and possibilities for shamanship in South Korea today. They include the Fairy Maid, with her cavalier attitude toward kut and her unabashed willingness to take on spirit children despite her lack of training, who fits the stereotype of a phony shaman; Minju's Mother who has held a successful initiation kut, and is learning her craft from an exacting spirit mother, but struggles to make a living; and Ms. Shin who believes that the shaman advocacy organizations have a “gender problem” and has worked herself to exhaustion trying to unite the shamans in an officially recognized shaman religion.

Keywords:   shamanic practice, shamanism, female shamans, shamanship

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