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Spirit Possession and Personhood among the Kel Ewey Tuareg

$40.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • Date Published: April 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521025775

$ 40.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Among the Tuareg people in the Air Mountain region of Niger, women are sometimes possessed by spirits called 'the people of solitude'. The evening curing rituals of the possessed, featuring drumming and song, take place before an audience of young men and women, who joke and flirt as the ritual unfolds. In her analysis of this tolerated but unofficial cult, Susan Rasmussen analyses symbolism and aesthetic values, provides case studies of possessed women, and reviews what local people think about the meaning of possession.

    • A theoretically innovative case study of spirit possession
    • An original interpretation which contests earlier studies
    • Appeal to a range of disciplines, anthropologists, Africanists and religious studies students
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Rasmussen's study is detailed and nuanced, with thick ethnographic description, snippets of Tuareg poetry, and a fine exposition of music, dress, and other aesthetic dimensions of personal identity. ...Rasmussen's study of Tuareg identity, knowledge, and healings is important and satisfying." Choice

    "These two studies offer new, compelling work on spirit possession in Niger....In general, this is a strong piece of writing....this book is a potentially valuable tool for introducing some important concepts to undergraduate audiences." Lesly A. Sharp, American Anthropologist

    "Spirit Possession and Personhood Among the Kel Ewey Tuareg is both scholarky and enchanting;Rasmussen has provided a lucid description of a traditional healing paradigm that can serve as a model fo future researchers and writers" American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis

    "The study reveals a sophisticated knowledge of the subject matter.... Rasmussen skillfully demonstrates how possession allows for the articulation of hidden agendas. ...the book is a must read for studetns of possession." Adeline Masquelier, Religious Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521025775
    • length: 196 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.301kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Illnesses of the heart and soul: the case of Asalama
    Part I. Images of Possession:
    2. Inversion and other tropes in spirit possession rituals
    3. 'Like a tree branch swaying in the wind': the head dance
    4. Illnesses of God: personhood, knowledge, and healing
    Part II. Art, Agency, and Power in the Ritual Sessions:
    5. Sound, solitude, and music
    6. The tande n goumaten songs
    References, Index.

  • Author

    Susan J. Rasmussen, University of Houston

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