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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Prophecy, possession, and politics: negotiating the supernatural in 20th century Machakos, Kenya
Author:Luongo, KatherineISNI
Year:2012
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Volume:45
Issue:2
Pages:191-216
Language:English
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:Kamba
colonial period
spirit possession
prophets
Abstract:During the 20th century, occult activity both reflected and shaped concerns about sociopolitical and economic change in Kenya. This trend was particularly pronounced in the Machakos district of Ukamba Province. This article compares a series of possession and prophecy movements in early twentieth-century Machakos. It traces how these movements brought competing local and colonial ideas about governmentality into conflict. Situating both this widespread occult activity across the region and the popular and political responses to it within the broader genealogy of Kamba possession and prophecy movements, the article demonstrates how the movements in Machakos were not a collective loss of reason, but instead emerged as a critique of and contest over what shapes power should take among the deprivations and dislocations of the early colonial period. In doing so, it challenges the received notions that possession and prophecy movements in Machakos were attributed solely to the new materialism or to the political exigencies of the early twentieth century. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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