Religious Tourism in Northern Thailand
Encounters with Buddhist Monks
- PUBLISHED: June 2021
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian Studies / Southeast Asia, Anthropology
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 242 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 3 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780295748924
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Temples are everywhere in Chiang Mai, filled with tourists as well as saffron-robed monks of all ages. The monks participate in daily urban life here as elsewhere in Thailand, where Buddhism is promoted, protected, and valued as a tourist attraction. Yet this mountain city offers more than a fleeting, commodified tourist experience, as the encounters between foreign visitors and Buddhist monks can have long-lasting effects on both parties.
These religious contacts take place where economic motives, missionary zeal, and opportunities for cultural exchange coincide. Brooke Schedneck incorporates fieldwork and interviews with student monks and tourists to examine the innovative ways that Thai Buddhist temples offer foreign visitors spaces for religious instruction and popular in-person Monk Chat sessions in which tourists ask questions about Buddhism. Religious Tourism in Northern Thailand also considers how Thai monks perceive other religions and cultures and how they represent their own religion when interacting with tourists, resulting in a revealing study of how religious traditions adapt to an era of globalization.
Authors & Contributors
Brooke Schedneck is assistant professor of religious studies at Rhodes College and author of Thailand’s International Meditation Centers: Tourism and the Global Commodification of Religious Practices.
The results of the long- term fieldwork presented within this volume is invaluable: Schedneck has offered a truly commendable window into not only the relationship ofreligion and tourism in Chiang Mai, but more broadly into Thai Buddhist monastic culture.- Religious Studies Review
Brooke Schedneck writes terrific books. Her latest offering... proves religious tourism and cultural exchange programmes to be worthy of serious scholarly attention.- Journal of Contemporary Religion
With Schedneck’s expertise in religious studies and drawing from her own encounters with Buddhism in Chiang Mai, the book offers a refreshingly honest perspective on the subject...Moreover, the lucid writing style of the author makes the book easy to follow and thus useful to readers with some interest in Chiang Mai.- SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
[Schedneck] has crafted an extremely novel and insightful perspective on the creation of Buddhism’s continuing global influence.- H-Net
Schedneck is the single best guide to the advantages and problems with seeking ‘spiritual’ guidance in Northern Thailand. There is no other book quite like this.- Justin Thomas McDaniel, author of The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical Monk: Practicing Buddhism in Modern Thailand
This provocative book challenges stereotypical approaches to the study of Thai Buddhism and especially to who the monks themselves are.- Susan Darlington, author of The Ordination of a Tree: The Thai Buddhist Environmental Movement