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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Going Bush': Black Magic, White Ambivalence and Boundaries of Belief in Postcolonial Kenya
Author:McIntosh, Janet
Year:2006
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Volume:36
Issue:3-4
Pages:254-295
Language:English
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:culture contact
Whites
magic
popular beliefs
witchcraft
identity
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Ethnic and Race Relations
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/27594388.pdf
Abstract:Drawing upon the accounts of whites born in Kenya and now living in coastal areas such as Mombasa, Kilifi and Malindi, this article examines the ways in which contemporary white Kenyans know about, talk about and sometimes interact with what they call 'witchcraft' and 'magic' in ways they find deeply discomfiting. Although white Kenyans are at pains to justify their postcolonial advantages in Kenya in terms of a level-headed and pragmatic kind of personhood, many of them interact with indigenous religious ontologies more than ever, sometimes as manipulators of the occult and sometimes as its fear-stricken victims. Because of these contradictions between ideology and experience, white narratives about 'witchcraft' and 'magic' are frequently riddled with tensions and equivocations. Many white Kenyans find creative rhetorical strategies for dealing with these tensions, strategies that sometimes fly in the face of simple models of 'belief ' as a commitment to truth value by treating it as a state of vulnerability that can lay one open to mysterious ontological forces. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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