The sacred elephant in the room: Ganesha cults in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Arratee Ayuttacorn, Jane Ferguson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    In recent years, Thai society has been portrayed as increasingly fractured along class, political and cultural lines. Meanwhile, a variety of religious cults have gathered devotees by promoting their practices as a means to ameliorate precarity or secure the future. Ganesha, the Hindu god of new beginnings and remover of obstacles, while long incorporated into and worshipped within Thai Buddhism, has recently increased in popularity. Through the study of two Ganesha-focused institutions in Chiang Mai province, this article will explore how this Hindu god's meaning is constructed within the religious marketplace as well as how and why people are increasingly turning to Ganesha for certain worldly problems. As the article will show, there is a new, syncretic form of re-enchantment taking place in Ganesha worship in Chiang Mai, which seeks to give people the tools to negotiate meaning and identity in a fractious political economy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-9
    Number of pages5
    JournalAnthropology Today
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


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