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Anthropology 2R03 January 17 (L6).pdf

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Antonio Sorge

Anthropology 2R03 January 17, 2013 Poison Oracle - How is poison oracle ‘gendered’? o Poison oracle can be used to see which wife bewitched their husband o Co-wives don’t always get along and causes potential strain and poison oracle can be used to see which wife is bewitching them - Evans-pritchard observed women urinating on them to contaminate/destroy oracle which renders it ineffective - Male technology and can only be used by men o Patriarchal society? But men hold greater social power than women - Witchcraft beliefs coincides with various strains in societies, stresses in societies o Not random or logic of their own - Q: When is it warranted to consult poison oracle? o A: Whenever significant misfortune strikes, or when people hope to anticipate the outcome of a major undertaking, such as a hunt or a long voyage. o Can’t consult oracles constantly, life is too short o Can’t guess every aspect of misfortune, can’t pursue everything o Not worth exposing witches that affect insignificant things - Wing of dead fowl is brought to prince (Avongara) governing district then sends deputy to bring to accused witch to repeal their witchery o Etiquette: person accused of witchcraft can’t deny because then it confirms that it’s a bad witch. o The witch has to blow water, take a sip of water and spit out mist. Called cooling the belly in witchcraft ▯ Agree to try to mend frayed social relations o If someone died and the witch was known then sometimes the witch would be killed or the witch would have to give blood money, compensate family of the deceased - Before British colonization, oracle poison was fed to suspected witch and if you die/puke then you’re a witch. If you don’t enter convulsion or present any symptoms then you’re not a witch. - They don’t care who individual witches are as long as they don’t bewitch anybody. o Normal people except they’re witches - Function of situations of misfortune, explains misfortune and function of personal relations o Function of personal relations in that it encourages people to remain on good terms of one another - Witches don’t bewitch people for no reason so avoid slander, don’t show off/wealth, avoid rivalry o Since wives can sometimes bewitch their husband they should treat their wives with respect o Witchcraft articulates with social dynamics and social action - Azande believe that the older you are the more powerful your witchcraft is o Must respect elders o Reinforce social dynamics - The valuable corrective to uncharitable behavior - Are witches conscious agents? o They’ll accept that they might be doing something unintentionally if they have been accused of bewitching someone and they’re sure that they haven’t. o Witches aren’t always conscious agents o Sometimes they don’t know th
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