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Human Spirits : A Cultural Account of Trance in Mayotte - Michael Lambek

Human Spirits

A Cultural Account of Trance in Mayotte

Paperback Published: 15th March 1982
ISBN: 9780521282550
Number Of Pages: 240

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Based on intensive ethnographic fieldwork, this book describes and interprets trance behaviour among the Malagasy speakers of Mayotte, a small island in the Comoro Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa. Professor Lambek describes how the people of Mayotte (most often women) enter into trances, during which they believe their bodies are inhabited by spirits. He then analyses the conventions for behaviour in trance and the process by which the individuals come to terms with the spirits in their midst. The book presents thorough case studies of spirit possession over time, providing one of the most detailed accounts of possession phenomena available for a single society. The author argues that trance can best be understood as a social activity within a defined system of cultural meaning rather than as a psychological problem, a simple deception or a means of manipulating others. This book should be of particular interest to those concerned with the study of ritual, symbols and non-Western religious systems.

List of tables and figures
Preface: cultural zero
Acknowledgements
Stylistic conventions
Introduction
Spirits and Hosts in Mayotte
An overview of Mayotte society
Who the spirits are not: possession and Islam
The nature of spirits: first approximations
The incidence of trance
Possession as a system of communication
The Syntagmatic Dimension
Negotiation and energence: the case of Habiba
Medicine and transformation: the case of Habiba continued
The hidden name: the case of Rukia
Of affines and annunciations
The Paradigmatic Dimension
The trumba spirits
The world of possession
The spirits as children
Conclusion
Appendix: Additional classes of possession spirits in Mayotte
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521282550
ISBN-10: 0521282551
Series: Cambridge Studies in Cultural Systems
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 15th March 1982
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.4
Weight (kg): 0.36