Vol. 9 No. 17 (2019): Political Solitude
Points of view

A Short Story of Visual Anthropology: Traditional Funeral in an Isaan Village

Paolo Giovannini
Manfredo Spillmann

Published 2019-11-04

How to Cite

Giovannini, P. ., & Spillmann, M. (2019). A Short Story of Visual Anthropology: Traditional Funeral in an Isaan Village. Cambio. Rivista Sulle Trasformazioni Sociali, 9(17). Retrieved from https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/cambio/article/view/7406


The Isaan region, populous and poor area in the North East of Thailand, has thousands of small villages where ways of life and cultural traditions not yet polluted by contact with modernity still live and survive. In one of his long stays in the Isaan, the author of the text is fortunate to be able to participate as a friend and almost as a relative in a traditional funeral ceremony in a village a few dozen kilometers from Udon Thani. The co-author of this work, Manfredo Spillmann, formerly a freelance photographer in Switzerland, is in fact married to the lady's niece whose funeral was celebrated, and therefore fully introduced into the reality of the village. The following story comes out from the encounter of two curiosities, one more professional, the other more visual. Written in first person, it would like to convey to the reader not only the description of an event, but also the emotions that this experience has produced in them. Followed for three days, the funeral has revealed aspects of great interest, especially looking at religious rituals but also to everyday life, and at the interweaving of Buddhism and animism so typical of the most peripheral areas of North East Thailand