the production of possession: spirits and the multinational corporation in Malaysia



This essay explores different interpretations of spirit possession episodes in multinational factories based in Malaysia. Drawing on fieldwork data and secondary sources, it deciphers the cryptic language of Malay spirit possession in relation to gender symbolism, social boundaries, and morality. This interpretation is contrasted to the corporate view that, by using the cosmopolitan medical model, converts workers into patients. By presenting these divergent views of spirit possession in factory settings, the essay seeks to illuminate general questions regarding the connections among affliction, cultural experience, and hegemony in the process of social change. [Malay culture, industrial capitalism, spirit possession, gender, symbolic analysis, medical anthropology, hegemonic discourse, world system]