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Niklas FoxeusForskare

Om mig

Niklas Foxeus, Associate Professor (Docent), is currently a research fellow and senior lecturer at the Dept of History of Religions, ERG, Stockholm University. He received his PhD from that department in 2011 with a dissertation entitled “The Buddhist World Emperor’s Mission: Millenarian Buddhism in Postcolonial Burma.” Thereafter, he has conducted research within three research projects:

  • The encounter between Buddhism and capitalism in Burma/Myanmar, “prosperity Buddhism” (2013-2015), funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet);
  • Buddhist nationalism, and tensions between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma/Myanmar (2015-2020), funded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (Kungl. Vitterhetsakademien):
  • State-sanctioned Buddhism and deviant forms of Buddhism in Burma/Myanmar (2020-), funded by the Swedish Research Council.



I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Leaving Theravāda Buddhism in Myanmar

    2019. Niklas Foxeus. Handbook of Leaving Religion, 116-129


    This chapter examines narratives of Burmese Buddhists who have left the “traditional” Theravāda Buddhism in Burma, into which they were born, for the teachings – stamped “heretical” and illegal by the state – of a dissident Buddhist monk, Ashin Nyāna.

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  • Spirits, Mortal Dread, and Ontological Security

    2018. Niklas Foxeus. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 86 (4), 1107-1147


    Following the global spread of capitalism and increasing impact of cultural globalization since the 1990s, prosperity religion, nationalist movements, and religious fundamentalism have emerged throughout the world. This article argues that such global tendencies intersect in certain forms of “prosperity Buddhism” that have emerged in recent years in Burma/Myanmar. As this article demonstrates, a novel Buddhist imaginary linked to prosperity Buddhism has evolved that represents a transformation of previous notions. The article argues that it can serve as a resource mainly for women to get success in business and can provide them with a way to negotiate Buddhist identity and acquire a sense of ontological security in rapidly changing urban areas. It can also serve as a means for social control and maintaining hegemonic power relations. For ritual specialists, these novel cults serve as the recurrent strategy of saving the Buddha’s dispensation in the face of rapid change.

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  • Possessed for Success

    2017. Niklas Foxeus. Contemporary Buddhism 18 (1), 108-139


    Following the global spread of capitalism from the early 1990s, individualistic, non-institutionalised prosperity religion and occult economies' have emerged throughout the world, including South-East Asia, but have seemingly not yet been investigated with respect to Burma/Myanmar. This article focuses on the cult of the guardians of the treasure trove - a form of prosperity Buddhism' - in Upper Burma, wherein predominantly business women of lower middle classes perform possession dances to become successful in business. It has partly evolved from the lower status traditional' possession cult of the 37 Lords. The aim of this article is threefold. Firstly, it examines novel kinds of Buddhicised' possession rituals of higher status that discard religious specialists. These practices represent a democratisation of public spirit-mediumship and provide a route for success in business, agency and empowerment. Secondly, it is demonstrated that these cults seek to preserve Buddhism in the face of the current rapid changes in Burma. Thirdly, this article shows how these novel cults emerged in dynamic interplay with recent economic, social and political changes in Burma, as well as an increasing impact of globalisation.

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