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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Ritual, history and the Swazi ncwala: sacred kingship and the origin of the State
Author:Astuti, R.
Year:1988
Periodical:Africa: rivista trimestrale di studi e documentazione
Volume:43
Issue:4
Pages:603-620
Language:English
Geographic term:Swaziland - Eswatini
Subjects:monarchy
kingship rituals
Abstract:This paper discusses the Swazi 'ncwala', or royal ritual, and symbolism as analysed by Luc de Heusch as a case of 'sacred kingship' based on what he calls 'hiérogamie incestueuse', i.e. the symbolic union of the king with his mother. While the analysis of de Heusch seems to be entirely undertaken at the symbolic level, with no 'spilling over' into the sociological or historical spheres, the author shows that in fact de Heusch's work makes use of history instrumentally, in order to provide the dialectical movement he cannot envisage in ritual. She suggests to read his evolutionary sequence (from segmentary societies to state formation) as the transposition at a historical level of the mechanisms which he fails to recognize in the structure of ritual. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French and Italian.
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