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Book Book Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Knowledge and practice in Mayotte: local discourses of Islam, sorcery, and spirit possession
Author:Lambek, MichaelISNI
Year:1993
Issue:3
Pages:468
Language:English
Series:Anthropological horizons
City:Toronto
Publisher:University of Toronto Press
ISBN:0802029604; 0802077838
Geographic terms:Comoros
Mayotte
Subjects:Islam
magic
African religions
spirit possession
Abstract:This ethnography of religious and ethnomedical practices of Malagasy speakers in Mayotte is based on fieldwork carried out in 1975-1976, 1980, and 1985-1986. It gives an account of the disciplines of the Islam, cosmology (astrology) and spirit possession as they emerge in the practice of local experts and ordinary villagers. The author views local culture as a conjuncture of discourses with no common measure. He describes the way in which the knowledge comprising each discourse is circulated and reproduced, and how each permeates social practices. He compares the objectified textual knowledge characteristic of Islam and of cosmology with the embodied knowledge of spirit possession. The author emphasizes the power and the authority constituted by each discipline, the scope for action each provides, and the limitations placed upon action. The account links power and meaning, analysis and interpretation, while also demonstrating the diversity of ways in which people experience the world and take action within it. Attention is given to the ideas and practices of specific individuals - Islamic experts, well-informed citizens, cosmologers, sorcery extractors, clients and spirit mediums. The book shows how their knowledge emerges in practice.
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