Knowledge and Practice in Mayotte: Local DisCourses of Islam,Sorcery and Spirit Possession / Edition 2

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Overview

On the East African island of Mayotte, Islam co-exists with two other systems of understanding and interpreting the world around its inhabitants: cosmology and spirit-mediumship. In a witty, evocative style accessible to both the specialist and non-specialist reader, Michael Lambek provides a significant contribution to writing on African systems of thought, on local forms of religious and therapeutic practice, on social accountability, and on the place of explicit forms of knowledge in the analysis of non-western societies.

The "objectified" textual knowledge characteristic of Islam and of cosmology is contrasted with the "embodied" knowledge of spirit possession. Lambek emphasizes the power and authority constituted by each discipline, as well as the challenge that each kind of knowledge presents to the others and their resolution in daily practice. "Disciplines" are defined as an organized body of practitioners or adepts, a concept precise and useful when applied to the contexts of Lambek's own research and equally so in the study of comparable environments elsewhere.

Essential reading for those interested in the comparative study of Islamic societies, Lambek's argument directly contributes to the main anthropological arguments of the day concerning the social and cultural basis of systems of knowledge and ethnographic strategies for depicting them.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An ethnography of the religious and ethnomedical practices of Malagasy speakers in Mayotte, an island off the coast of East Africa near Madagascar. Based on participant-observation fieldwork, and making extensive use of case histories, Lambek's (anthropology, U. of Toronto) rich work provides an account of the disciplines of Islam, cosmology (astrology), and spirit possession as they emerge in the practice of local experts and ordinary villagers. Paper edition (unseen), $24.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802077837
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 10/28/1993
  • Series: Anthropological Horizons Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 468
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 1.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Lambek is a professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and editor for the Anthropological Horizons series with University of Toronto Press.
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Table of Contents

Tables and Figures
Preface
Stylistic Conventions and Conundrums
Dramatis Personae
Pt. I Introductions
1 Knowledge and Hubris 3
2 Locating Knowledge in Mayotte: Structure, History, and Practice 31
3 Village Organization and the Distribution of Knowledge 68
Pt. II The Social Organization of Textual Knowledge
4 Islam: The Perspective from the Path 103
5 Educating Citizens: The Reproduction of Textual Knowledge 134
6 Islamic Experts: Practice and Power 162
Pt. III Counterpractices: Cosmology and the Ins and Outs of Sorcery
7 Knowledge with Power: The Discipline of Cosmology 195
8 Knowledge and Antipractice: Committing Sorcery 237
9 Removing Sorcery: Committing (to) the Cure 266
Pt. IV Embodied Knowledge and the Practice of Spirit Mediums
10 The Reproduction of Possession: Gaining a Voice 305
11 Tumbu and Mohedja: Excerpts from the Healers' Practice 338
12 Granaries, Turtles, and the Whole Damn Thing 379
Epilogue, 1992 407
Notes 409
Glossary 437
Bibliography 441
Index 453
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