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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Guji Trance and Social Change: Symbolic Response to Domination
Author:Hinnant, John T.
Periodical:Northeast African Studies
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:African religions
spirit possession
social change
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/43660300
Abstract:Since the 1890s, the Guji Oromo of central Sidamo, Ethiopia, have experienced major upheavals brought about by drought, disease, incorporation into Ethiopia, the Italian invasion of the 1930s, and more recently attempts at 'modernization' by the Ethiopian State. The means the Guji have employed for understanding these events, and for coming to terms with them, are largely contained within their religion. Historically, the central religious and social institution of the Guji has been the 'gada' system, which consists of a particularly complex set of rules for ordering society and a rich cosmology that explains the powers of the universe and also provides means for coping with events. Congruent with the 'gada' system are a number of subsidiary powers, including a form of spiritual trance. In addition, a new form of trance has recently appeared in Guji, which is not only historically distinct but which also conceptualizes a cosmos that has greatly changed. This article explores the history of relations between the Guji and the Ethiopian State in terms of both specific events and changes in Guji society, and the conceptual systems by which the Guji come to grips with events that are increasingly beyond their control. The fieldwork for this study was conducted between 1968 and 1971, and 1971 is the 'ethnographic present'. Notes, ref.