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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:On dancing and fishing: joy and the celebration of fertility among the Punu of Congo-Brazzaville
Author:Plancke, CarineISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Congo (Republic of)
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/afr.2010.0405
Abstract:Among the Punu of Congo-Brazzaville 'ikoku' dancing is perceived through the concept of joy. In line with the privileging of the emotional experience, this article intends to consider the dance as an emotive institution - that is, a socially organized activity that creates culturally meaningful forms of emotion within which an understanding of self, as well as social identities and relations, are shaped. In 'ikoku', a succession of dance sessions, embarked on with shame-banishing pride and performed individually or as a couple, awakens a shared joy. Through the dance patterns and idiom, this joyful dancing is connected to the fecundating sexual encounter and to the activity of fishing, linking the dance world to the life-bearing water spirit world. The joining of sexual differentiation and maternal containment that in this way is enacted and deeply experienced by the participants - if the event succeeds in awakening joy - supports basic structures of Punu rural society characterized by the tension between conjugal relations based on a patri-virilocal principle and matriclanic belonging. The emphasis that the analysis places on the dance form itself, and on the shared joy in dawning fertility it evokes, also proves to be fruitful in understanding how 'ikoku' dancing persists in changing contexts, even in urban ones. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]