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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Black stomachs, beautiful stones: soul-eating among Hausa in Niger
Author:Schmoll, Pamela G.ISNI
Book title:Modernity and Its Malcontents: Ritual and Power in Postcolonial Africa
Editors:Comaroff, J.
Comaroff, J.L.
City of publisher:Chicago, IL
Publisher:The University of Chicago Press
Geographic term:Niger
Abstract:This chapter analyses Hausa soul-eating (witchcraft) by looking at it as a culturally constituted, more-or-less coherent network of images, symbols, beliefs, practices and values that not only provide people a conceptual framework of experience but also establishes practical guidelines for action. Using ethnographic data gathered over a three-year period of research (1983-1986) in the Gulbi Valley (Niger), the author shows the nature of that framework. She pays attention to the social context of soul-eating, the anatomy of soul-eating, the commoditization of soul-eating, soul-eating imagery (the symbolic elements 'ciki' (stomach) and 'ci' (to eat) and their association with food/hunger/consumption, reproduction, and killing/cooking), and the transformation of soul-eating and its implications. She shows that beliefs and values surrounding soul-eating provide poignant commentary about a changing world and changing social relationships. Traditionally a discourse about desires and wants - a metaphoric hunger, out of control - soul-eating continues to be not only a reality in this part of Hausaland, but a polyvalent and meaningful set of images that speaks to the jealousies, expectations, and frustrations that have come in the wake of capitalism, colonialism, and the disruption of the traditional balance of power and wealth. Bibliogr., notes, ref.