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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Spiders in and Out of Court, or, 'The Long Legs of the Law': Styles of Spider Divination in the Sociological Contexts
Author:Zeitlyn, DavidISNI
Year:1993
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Volume:63
Issue:2
Pages:219-240
Language:English
Geographic term:Cameroon
Subjects:divination
Mambila
Banen
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1160842
Abstract:Both Banen (or Ndiki) and Mambila in Cameroon use spiders in divination. In this comparative study, the author relies on the work of Idelette Dugast, who worked in the Ndiki chiefdom of the Banen over a twenty-year span from the 1930s to the late 1950s, and on his own field research among the Mambila, particularly in the village of Somiť. The intellectual practice of the divinatory technique is related to the different sociological contexts of divination. Relative freedom of interpretation and the posing of questions overnight among the Banen correlate with its political unimportance. Conversely among the Mambila the interpretation of the diviner is rule-bound, and many simple questions may be asked in quick succession. The results provide important evidence in the chief's court. Social context and intellectual content are each constrained but underdetermined by the other. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.
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