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Title: Defying the gaze: Exodelics for the bewitched in Sukumaland and beyond
Authors: Stroeken, Koenraad # ×
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: M. Nijhoff
Series Title: Dialectical Anthropology vol:26 issue:3-4 pages:285-309
Abstract: Since the late seventies the Sukuma of northwest Tanzania have observed an increase in witchcraft practice as well as an extension of the list of potential witches. They particularly blame the Ujamaa resettlement program of the Tanzanian government, which imposed mono-centric village structures upon the agro-pastoral farmers. Suddenly gone were the distances that used to be crossed systematically as a token of solidarity between homesteads. The national policy caused the bewitching curse called ``gaze'' to intensify, while it deprived neighbors of their main anti-dote to witchcraft suspicions. That anti-dote generally refers to an exchange of gifts that disarms the reproaching gaze. For lack of a better term I will call its effect exo-delic: the bewitched must transcend the surrounding world, which has become too intrusive to manifest itself as an outside; he or she must make that world appropriable again, for example by appreciating its `exotic' side. Inflatory discourse on the occult manages to do so, in Sukumaland and far beyond. Collective drinking is equally effective in remedying feelings of bewitchment. Those remedies appear to draw their meaning from the one figure that is anti-thetical to the witch: the dancer, who defies the collective gaze. So I could observe on my journey to the invisible village of Gamboshi.
ISSN: 0304-4092
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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