Ethnographic Sorcery

Author: Harry G. West
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226894126
Release Date: 2008-09-15
Genre: Social Science

According to the people of the Mueda plateau in northern Mozambique, sorcerers remake the world by asserting the authority of their own imaginative visions of it. While conducting research among these Muedans, anthropologist Harry G. West made a revealing discovery—for many of them, West’s efforts to elaborate an ethnographic vision of their world was itself a form of sorcery. In Ethnographic Sorcery, West explores the fascinating issues provoked by this equation. A key theme of West’s research into sorcery is that one sorcerer’s claims can be challenged or reversed by other sorcerers. After West’s attempt to construct a metaphorical interpretation of Muedan assertions that the lions prowling their villages are fabricated by sorcerers is disputed by his Muedan research collaborators, West realized that ethnography and sorcery indeed have much in common. Rather than abandoning ethnography, West draws inspiration from this connection, arguing that anthropologists, along with the people they study, can scarcely avoid interpreting the world they inhabit, and that we are all, inescapably, ethnographic sorcerers.

Ethnographic Sorcery

Author: Harry G. West
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226893987
Release Date: 2007-05-01
Genre: Social Science

According to the people of the Mueda plateau in northern Mozambique, sorcerers remake the world by asserting the authority of their own imaginative visions of it. While conducting research among these Muedans, anthropologist Harry G. West made a revealing discovery—for many of them, West’s efforts to elaborate an ethnographic vision of their world was itself a form of sorcery. In Ethnographic Sorcery, West explores the fascinating issues provoked by this equation. A key theme of West’s research into sorcery is that one sorcerer’s claims can be challenged or reversed by other sorcerers. After West’s attempt to construct a metaphorical interpretation of Muedan assertions that the lions prowling their villages are fabricated by sorcerers is disputed by his Muedan research collaborators, West realized that ethnography and sorcery indeed have much in common. Rather than abandoning ethnography, West draws inspiration from this connection, arguing that anthropologists, along with the people they study, can scarcely avoid interpreting the world they inhabit, and that we are all, inescapably, ethnographic sorcerers.

Ethnographic Sorcery

Author: Harry G. West
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226893979
Release Date: 2007-06-01
Genre: Social Science

According to the people of the Mueda plateau in northern Mozambique, sorcerers remake the world by asserting the authority of their own imaginative visions of it. While conducting research among these Muedans, anthropologist Harry G. West made a revealing discovery—for many of them, West’s efforts to elaborate an ethnographic vision of their world was itself a form of sorcery. In Ethnographic Sorcery, West explores the fascinating issues provoked by this equation. A key theme of West’s research into sorcery is that one sorcerer’s claims can be challenged or reversed by other sorcerers. After West’s attempt to construct a metaphorical interpretation of Muedan assertions that the lions prowling their villages are fabricated by sorcerers is disputed by his Muedan research collaborators, West realized that ethnography and sorcery indeed have much in common. Rather than abandoning ethnography, West draws inspiration from this connection, arguing that anthropologists, along with the people they study, can scarcely avoid interpreting the world they inhabit, and that we are all, inescapably, ethnographic sorcerers.

The Sorcerer s Burden

Author: Paul Stoller
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9783319318059
Release Date: 2016-09-24
Genre: Social Science

This book emerges from the author's 35 years of research and thought about the Songhay people of Niger. This ethnographic novel follows the life of Omar Dia, the oldest son of a West African sorcerer. When his father falls ill and dies, the great sorcerer vomits a small metal chain onto his chest. Following the path of his ancestors, Omar swallows the chain, becoming his father's successor, which means that he takes on the sorcerer's burden. The book also describes how custodians of traditional knowledge are creatively adapting to the forces of globalization—all in a highly accessible narrative text.

Kupilikula

Author: Harry G. West
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226894053
Release Date: 2005-09-05
Genre: History

On the Mueda plateau in northern Mozambique, sorcerers are said to feed on their victims, sometimes "making" lions or transforming into lions to literally devour their flesh. When the ruling FRELIMO party subscribed to socialism, it condemned sorcery beliefs and counter-sorcery practices as false consciousness, but since undertaking neoliberal reform, the party—still in power after three electoral cycles—has "tolerated tradition," leaving villagers to interpret and engage with events in the idiom of sorcery. Now, when the lions prowl plateau villages ,suspected sorcerers are often lynched. In this historical ethnography of sorcery, Harry G. West draws on a decade of fieldwork and combines the perspectives of anthropology and political science to reveal how Muedans expect responsible authorities to monitor the invisible realm of sorcery and to overturn or, as Muedans call it, "kupilikula" sorcerers' destructive attacks by practicing a constructive form of counter-sorcery themselves. Kupilikula argues that, where neoliberal policies have fostered social division rather than security and prosperity, Muedans have, in fact, used sorcery discourse to assess and sometimes overturn reforms, advancing alternative visions of a world transformed.

Kuru Sorcery

Author: Shirley Lindenbaum
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317264729
Release Date: 2015-11-30
Genre: Social Science

Perhaps the best-documented epidemic in the history of medicine, kuru has been studied for more than fifty years by international investigators from medicine and the human sciences. This significantly revised edition of the landmark anthropological classic Kuru Sorcery brings up to date the anthropological contribution to understanding disease, the medical research that resulted in two medical Nobel Prizes, and the views of the Fore people who endured the epidemic and who still believe that sorcerers, rather than cannibalism, caused kuru. The kuru epidemic serves as a prism through which to see how Fore notions of disease causation bring into single focus their views about the body, the world of social and spiritual relations, and changes in economic and political conditions-aspects of thought and behaviour that Western medicine keeps separate.

Beyond Rationalism

Author: Bruce Kapferer
Publisher: Berghahn Books
ISBN: 0857458558
Release Date: 2003-02-28
Genre: Social Science

This book seeks a reconsideration of the phenomenon of sorcery and related categories. The contributors to the volume explore the different perspectives on human sociality and social and political constitution that practices typically understood as sorcery, magic and ritual reveal. In doing so the authors are concerned to break away from the dictates of a western externalist rationalist understanding of these phenomena without falling into the trap of mysticism. The articles address a diversity of ethnographic contexts in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas.

In Sorcery s Shadow

Author: Paul Stoller
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226098296
Release Date: 2013-08-09
Genre: Social Science

The tale of Paul Stoller's sojourn among sorcerors in the Republic of Niger is a story of growth and change, of mutual respect and understanding that will challenge all who read it to plunge deeply into an alien world.

Email from Ngeti

Author: James H. Smith
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520281103
Release Date: 2014-09-05
Genre: SOCIAL SCIENCE

Cover; Email from Ngeti; Title; Copyright; CONTENTS; Acknowledgments; 1 Emails from the Field: An Introduction; 2 English Makes You See Far; 3 God Helps Those That Help Themselves; 4 Good Ants, Bad Milk, and Ugly Deeds; 5 The Power of Prayer; 6 Works and Days; 7 A Confrontation; 8 Reflections; Appendix of Names; Notes; Bibliography. Email from Ngeti is a captivating story of sorcery, redemption, and transnational friendship in the globalized twenty-first century. When the anthropologist James Smith returns to Kenya to begin fieldwork for a new research project, he meets Ngeti Mwadime, a young man from the Taita Hills who is as interested in the United States as Smith is in Taita. Ngeti possesses a savvy sense of humor and an unusual command of the English language, which he teaches himself by watching American movies and memorizing the Oxford English Dictionary. Smith and Mwadime soon develop a friendship th.

The Taste of Ethnographic Things

Author: Paul Stoller
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812203143
Release Date: 2010-11-24
Genre: Medical

Anthropologists who have lost their senses write ethnographies that are often disconnected from the worlds they seek to portray. For most anthropologists, Stoller contends, tasteless theories are more important than the savory sauces of ethnographic life. That they have lost the smells, sounds, and tastes of the places they study is unfortunate for them, for their subjects, and for the discipline itself. The Taste of Ethnographic Things describes how, through long-term participation in the lives of the Songhay of Niger, Stoller eventually came to his senses. Taken together, the separate chapters speak to two important and integrated issues. The first is methodological—all the chapters demonstrate the rewards of long-term study of a culture. The second issue is how he became truer to the Songhay through increased sensual awareness.

Pentecostalism and Witchcraft

Author: Knut Rio
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9783319560687
Release Date: 2017-10-29
Genre: Social Science

This open access book presents fresh ethnographic work from the regions of Africa and Melanesia—where the popularity of charismatic Christianity can be linked to a revival and transformation of witchcraft. The volume demonstrates how the Holy Spirit has become an adversary to the reconfirmed presence of witches, demons, and sorcerers as manifestations of evil. We learn how this is articulated in spiritual warfare, in crusades, and in healing or witch-killing raids. The contributors highlight what happens to phenomena that people address as locally specific witchcraft or sorcery when re-molded within the universalist Pentecostal demonology, vocabulary, and confrontational methodology.

Of Marriage Violence and Sorcery

Author: David McKnight
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781351914086
Release Date: 2016-12-05
Genre: Social Science

This is a fascinating exploration of the relationship between marriage, violence and sorcery in an Australian Aboriginal Community, drawing on David McKnight’s extensive research on Mornington Island. The case studies, which occurred both before and after a Presbyterian Mission was established on the island, allow McKnight to show how the complexities of kin ties and increased sexual competition help to explain incidences of violence and sorcery, without resorting to psychiatric justifications. He demonstrates that kin ties both stimulated conflict and helped to mitigate it. Following on from McKnight’s previous book, Going the Whiteman’s Way (Ashgate 2004), Of Marriage, Violence and Sorcery offers an archive of valuable primary materials, drawing on the author’s forty-year knowledge of the community on Mornington Island.

Mobile Secrets

Author: Julie Soleil Archambault
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226447605
Release Date: 2017-05-26
Genre: Social Science

Now part and parcel of everyday life almost everywhere, mobile phones have radically transformed how we acquire and exchange information. Many anticipated that in Africa, where most have gone from no phone to mobile phone, improved access to telecommunication would enhance everything from entrepreneurialism to democratization to service delivery, ushering in socio-economic development. With Mobile Secrets, Julie Soleil Archambault offers a complete rethinking of how we understand uncertainty, truth, and ignorance by revealing how better access to information may in fact be anything but desirable. By engaging with young adults in a Mozambique suburb, Archambault shows how, in their efforts to create fulfilling lives, young men and women rely on mobile communication not only to mitigate everyday uncertainty but also to juggle the demands of intimacy by courting, producing, and sustaining uncertainty. In their hands, the phone has become a necessary tool in a wider arsenal of pretense—a means of creating the open-endedness on which harmonious social relations depend in postwar postsocialist Mozambique. As Mobile Secrets shows, Mozambicans have harnessed the technology not only to acquire information but also to subvert regimes of truth and preserve public secrets, allowing everyone to feign ignorance about the workings of the postwar intimate economy.

Political Ethnography

Author: Edward Schatz
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226736784
Release Date: 2013-02-11
Genre: Social Science

Scholars of politics have sought in recent years to make the discipline more hospitable to qualitative methods of research. Lauding the results of this effort and highlighting its potential for the future, Political Ethnography makes a compelling case for one such method in particular. Ethnography, the contributors amply demonstrate in a wide range of original essays, is uniquely suited for illuminating the study of politics. Situating these pieces within the context of developments in political science, Edward Schatz provides an overarching introduction and substantive prefaces to each of the volume’s four sections. The first of these parts addresses the central ontological and epistemological issues raised by ethnographic work, while the second grapples with the reality that all research is conducted from a first-person perspective. The third section goes on to explore how ethnographic research can provide fresh perspectives on such perennial topics as opinion, causality, and power. Concluding that political ethnography can and should play a central role in the field as a whole, the final chapters illuminate the many ways in which ethnographic approaches can enhance, improve, and, in some areas, transform the study of politics.

Witchcraft Sorcery Rumors and Gossip

Author: Pamela J. Stewart
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 052100473X
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Political Science

This book demonstrates the role gossip plays in accusations of witchcraft and in widespread social violence.