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Published on Thursday, November 03, 2016


This seminar, gathering Western and Asian Scholars at Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand), aims to discuss the relationship between Southeast Asian societies and their natural environments. The sociological approach explores the forms that connect social and cosmic orders within an hindo-buddhist context. We will consider contemporary socio-political challenges in regard to climate change, development practices and technical knowledge. 




On a comparative basis, the seminar will explore the diversity of modes of interaction between humans and non-humans - gods, plants, animals, spirits - in Southeast Asian societies. In light of Philippe Descola’s inspiring work Beyond Nature and Culture, the seminar would question the ways Southeast Asian societies do reflect upon the specific articulation between “nature” and “culture” developed by the West. What are the vernacular equivalents of the notions? How the Western ways of sorting things and beings out as natural or cultural are re-appropriated and discussed? And finally, how may we understand the forms that connect the social to the cosmic order within an Hindu-Buddhist context?

In this regard, we will examine how the relationships between societies and environments are reformulated and reshaped by development practices, technical knowledge systems and contemporary environmental challenges: water resource management, deforestation, ecosystem preservation, energy resources, and land-use changes.


Co-organized by Institute of Research on Contemporary Southeast Asia (IRASEC) and Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS), Chulalongkorn University

In partnership with Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University; the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Chiang Mai University; and Siamese Association of Sociologists and Anthropologists (SASA).

Date and Time

November 2016 to April 2017 from 14.30 to 16.30 pm. 


Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Faculty of Political Science Chulalongkorn University 


Open to researchers, Master and Ph.D. scholars and public.


1. Friday, November 4, 2016

Introduction session. Beyond nature and culture in Southeast Asian Societies.

  • Abigaël Pesses and Stéphane Rennesson (Institute of Research on Contemporary Southeast Asia – IRASEC-CNRS)

2. Friday, December 16, 2016:

Beyond Nature and Culture of Modern Thai Water Engineering: The Ontology of Infrastructure.

  • Jakkrit Sangkhamanee (CSDS, Board and Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University)

3. Friday, January 20, 2017

Politics of nature conservation in Thailand.

  • Pinkaew Laungaramsri (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social Science, Chiang Mai University)

4. Friday, February 24, 2017

 Understanding an active volcano: animism and naturalism in the central javanese society

  • Adeline Martinez (IRASEC, University of Aix-Marseille)

5. Friday, March 17, 2017

Web of relations: the way of giving, taking and reciprocating in the Moken’s world.

  • Narumon Arunotai (Research Unit on Cultural Dynamics and Ethnicity, Social Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University)

6. Friday, April 28, 2017

Neak ta (land guardian spirits) in Cambodia. Reflections on the ideas of humanity and nature from the Khmer perspective. 

  • Anne Guillou (IRASEC-CNRS)

Special Lectures (Bangkok and Chiang Mai), November 2017

  • Philippe Descola, Professor to the Chair in Anthropology of Nature at the College of France.


  • Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor - Chulalongkorn University, Faculty of Political Science
    Bangkok, Kingdom of Thailand


  • Friday, November 04, 2016
  • Friday, December 16, 2016
  • Friday, January 20, 2017
  • Friday, February 24, 2017
  • Friday, March 17, 2017
  • Friday, April 28, 2017


  • nature, environment, buddhism, animism, water management, forest, preservation, risk mangement, local knowledge, land-use


  • Stephane Rennesson
    courriel : rennessonstephane [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Abigaël Pesses
    courriel : mmsh-these-prix [at] univ-amu [dot] fr
  • Naruemon Thabchumpon
    courriel : nthabchumpon [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Jakkrit Sangkhamanee
    courriel : jakkrit [dot] mail [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Abigaël Pesses
    courriel : mmsh-these-prix [at] univ-amu [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

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« Societies and environments in Southeast Asia », Seminar, Calenda, Published on Thursday, November 03, 2016,

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