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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Framing divination: a Mande divination expert and the occult economy
Author:Jansen, JanISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Mali
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/E0001972008000636
Abstract:This essay describes the skills of a sand divination expert in Mali through consideration of his expert performance. By relating the description of the expert to Goffman's sociology, the author argues that, in addition to his skilled divination techniques, an expert diviner should be capable of establishing and maintaining the framework of his performance. In the case of the expert described in this essay, sand diviner Namagan Kante, it is demonstrated that this framework encompasses a unique and dynamic network of social relations, and comprises a complex set of economic and geographical factors. The historical backdrop to the expert's activities is the 'occult economy' (the deployment, real or imagined, of magical means for material ends). The author further argues that acquiring the skills needed for managing a performative frame and a team of people to support this frame in the conditions described is a major accomplishment. Study of these skills and processes may provide valuable insight into processes of social change at the microlevel. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]