Ethnographic Sorcery

ISBN-10: 0226893987

ISBN-13: 9780226893983

Edition: 2007

Authors: Harry G. West

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Description:

According to the people of the Mueda plateau in northern Mozambique, sorcerers remake the world by asserting the authority of their own imaginative visions of it. While conducting research among these Muedans, anthropologist Harry G. West made a revealing discovery--for many of them, West's efforts to elaborate an ethnographic vision of their world was itself a form of sorcery. In "Ethnographic Sorcery," West explores the fascinating issues provoked by this equation. A key theme of West's research into sorcery is that one sorcerer's claims can be challenged or reversed by other sorcerers. After West's attempt to construct a metaphorical interpretation of Muedan assertions that the lions prowling their villages are fabricated by sorcerers is disputed by his Muedan research collaborators, West realized that ethnography and sorcery indeed have much in common. Rather than abandoning ethnography, West draws inspiration from this connection, arguing that anthropologists, along with the people they study, can scarcely avoid interpreting the world they inhabit, and that we are all, inescapably, ethnographic sorcerers.
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Book details

List price: $21.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 5/1/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 128
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

Tracy J. Luedke is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Northeastern Illinois University.Harry G. West is lecturer in Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is author of Kupilikula: Governance and the Invisible Realm in Mozambique.

Misunderstanding
In search of the forward-looking peasant
"This must be studied scientifically"
Belief as metaphor
"The problem may lie there"
Whose metaphors?
Powers of perspective and persuasion
Making meaning, making the world
Masked and dangerous
Articulated visions
Bridging domains
Working with indeterminacy
Doctors Kalamatatu
Ethnographic sorcery
Circular arguments
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