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Spirit Possession and Personhood among the Kel Ewey Tuareg

Part of Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology

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

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  • 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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    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

    Acknowledgments
    Introduction
    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
    Conclusions
    Notes
    References, Index.

  • Author

    Susan J. Rasmussen, University of Houston

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