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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sacrifice, Narratives and Experience in East Madagascar
Author:Cole, Jennifer
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Madagascar
Subjects:African religions
sacrificial rites
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Abstract:This essay examines the role of sacrifice in mediating individual and collective experience through an analysis of sacrifice as it is practised among rural Southern Betsimisaraka of east Madagascar. The practice of cattle sacrifice is central to the constitution of Southern Betsimisaraka identity, both mediating and transforming people's experience of, and relationship to, their ancestral homeland and the outside world. The author specifically focuses on sacrificial narratives, produced in the long speech, or 'kabary', performed just prior to the slaughter of the animal. In order to locate the practice of sacrifice in its social and discursive context, the author considers the significance of cattle, the nature of the dead and their relationship to the living, local conceptions of history and the predicaments of the living, and how, through the narratives produced in the context of cattle sacrifice, they constitute the Betsimisaraka social imaginary. She concludes that, for Southern Betsimisaraka, the cohabitation of the living and the dead enabled by sacrifice allows for what M.M. Steedly (1993) has called 'a momentary bridging of borders between past and present, between experience and imagination.' Fieldwork was carried out in 1992-1993 in the village of Ambodiharina, located on the Mangoro river. Bibliogr., notes, ref.