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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mamprusi Witchcraft: Subversion and Changing Gender Relations
Author:Drucker-Brown, SusanISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:Mamprusi polity
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Cultural Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161005
Abstract:In the precolonial Mamprusi kingdom in northeastern Ghana female witches were either executed after sentencing in the king's court, or segregated in a special section of the market town of Gambaga, where they received medicine to neutralize their witchcraft. This treatment of witches is a manifestation of the centralizing process at work in the kingdom, and also exemplifies the division of ritual labour characteristic of the polity. Recent changes in the constitution of the witches' village have been accompanied by new Mamprusi conceptions of witchcraft, drawing on a long-standing belief in the power of women to subvert the social order. Radical changes in national political and economic conditions, and local changes in the division of labour, are threatening the idealized norms of Mamprusi gender relations. Mamprusi witch-hunting emerges as an attempt to control women, who are perceived as a source of these wider disorders. The article is based on fieldwork from 1963 to 1965 and during brief periods in 1985, 1986, 1991 and 1992. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French.