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At Home and in the FieldEthnographic Encounters in Asia and the Pacific Islands$
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Suzanne S. Finney, Mary Mostafanezhad, Guido Carlo Pigliasco, and Forrest Wade Young

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847593

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847593.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 03 August 2020

Tempting the Nāga

Tempting the Nāga

Local Knowledge and Mysteries of the Mekong

Chapter:
(p.7) Tempting the Nāga
Source:
At Home and in the Field
Author(s):

Carl J. Hefner

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824847593.003.0003

This chapter reflects upon a journey along the Mekong River that an anthropologist has undertaken to introduce students to ethnic groups and sociocultural worlds from China and Cambodia, to Laos and Vietnam. The Mekong River is one of the largest rivers of the world, and one with increasing ecological, economic, and political regional significance in Southeast Asia as local, regional, and international agents fight for its future development or conservation. With the river as a backdrop, the chapter discusses encounters in the field that could have led to death—the most serious predicament an ethnographer can confront. This chapter highlights the ways an appreciation and respect of local cultural knowledge—a major topic of ethnography—was fundamental to surviving and thriving within the worlds of the Mekong.

Keywords:   Southeast Asia, Mekong River, cultural knowledge, local knowledge, fieldwork dangers, sociocultural worlds, ethnic groups

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