The Empty Seashell

Witchcraft and Doubt on an Indonesian Island

Author: Nils Bubandt

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 0801471966

Category: Social Science

Page: 320

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The Empty Seashell explores what it is like to live in a world where cannibal witches are undeniably real, yet too ephemeral and contradictory to be an object of belief. In a book based on more than three years of fieldwork between 1991 and 2011, Nils Bubandt argues that cannibal witches for people in the coastal, and predominantly Christian, community of Buli in the Indonesian province of North Maluku are both corporeally real and fundamentally unknowable. Witches (known as gua in the Buli language or as suanggi in regional Malay) appear to be ordinary humans but sometimes, especially at night, they take other forms and attack people in order to kill them and eat their livers. They are seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The reality of gua, therefore, can never be pinned down. The title of the book comes from the empty nautilus shells that regularly drift ashore around Buli village. Convention has it that if you find a live nautilus, you are a gua. Like the empty shells, witchcraft always seems to recede from experience. Bubandt begins the book by recounting his own confusion and frustration in coming to terms with the contradictory and inaccessible nature of witchcraft realities in Buli. A detailed ethnography of the encompassing inaccessibility of Buli witchcraft leads him to the conclusion that much of the anthropological literature, which views witchcraft as a system of beliefs with genuine explanatory power, is off the mark. Witchcraft for the Buli people doesn’t explain anything. In fact, it does the opposite: it confuses, obfuscates, and frustrates. Drawing upon Jacques Derrida’s concept of aporia—an interminable experience that remains continuously in doubt—Bubandt suggests the need to take seriously people’s experiential and epistemological doubts about witchcraft, and outlines, by extension, a novel way of thinking about witchcraft and its relation to modernity.
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Ethnographies of Grey Zones in Eastern Europe

Relations, Borders and Invisibilities

Author: Ida Harboe Knudsen,Martin Demant Frederiksen

Publisher: Anthem Press

ISBN: 178308412X

Category: Social Science

Page: 212

View: 3370

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Over the last two decades, Eastern Europe has experienced extensive changes in geo-political relocations and relations leading to everyday uncertainty. Attempts to establish liberal democracies, re-orientations from planned to market economics, and a desire to create ‘new states’ and internationally minded ‘new citizens’ has left some in poverty, unemployment and social insecurity, leading them to rely on normative coping and semi-autonomous strategies for security and social guarantees. This anthology explores how grey zones of governance, borders, relations and invisibilities affect contemporary Eastern Europe.
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Feelings at the Margins

Dealing with Violence, Stigma and Isolation in Indonesia

Author: Thomas Stodulka,Birgitt Röttger-Rössler

Publisher: Campus Verlag

ISBN: 3593500051

Category: Social Science

Page: 234

View: 3165

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This book integrates social anthropological, political, and historical perspectives on the emotional impact of marginalization, stigmatization and violence in present-day Indonesia. The authors' combined focus on regional particularities and universal dimensions of experiencing and dealing with social, economic and psychological adversities targets scholars who share regional interest in the archipelago and researchers concerned with theoretical aspects of the interplay between power asymmetries, agency, emotion and culture.
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Magic: The Basics

Author: Michael D. Bailey

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317610660

Category: History

Page: 184

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Magic: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to magic in world history and contemporary societies. Presenting magic as a global phenomenon which has manifested in all human cultures, this book takes a thematic approach which explores the historical, social, and cultural aspects of magic. Key features include: attempts to define magic either in universal or more particular terms, and to contrast it with other broad and potentially fluid categories such as religion and science; an examination of different forms of magical practice and the purposes for which magic has been used; debates about magic’s effectiveness, its reality, and its morality; an exploration of magic’s association with certain social factors, such as gender, ethnicity and education, among others. Offering a global perspective of magic from antiquity through to the modern era and including a glossary of key terms, suggestions for further reading and case studies throughout, Magic: The Basics is essential reading for anyone seeking to learn more about the academic study of magic.
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