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ANTA02H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Zande People, Granary, Social Fact

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Bianca Dahl
Study Guide

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Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic among the Azande
The Notion of Witchcraft explains unfortunate events
Witchcraft beliefs embrace a system of values which regulate human conduct
Witchcraft is ubiquitous: plays its part in every activity of Zande life; in agricultural,
fishing, and hunting pursuits; in domestic life of homesteads as well as in communal life
of district and court; influence strapped on law and morals, etiquette and religion;
prominent in technology and language
Zande attribute any misfortunes to witchcraft unless there is strong evidence, and
subsequent oracular confirmation, that sorcery or some other evil agent has been at work,
or unless they are clearly attributed to incompetence, breach of taboo, or failure to
observe moral rule
Witchcraft participates in all misfortunes and is the idiom in which Azande speak about
them and in which they explain them
Expected that a man’s hunting will be injured by witches, and he has at his disposal
means of dealing with them
Does not become awestruck at play of supernatural forces, extremely annoyed
Witchcraft is not less anticipated than adultery; intertwined with everyday happenings
that it is part of a Zande’s ordinary world
Zande expect people to be ill (i.e., bewitched) and it’s not a matter for surprise or
Example of witchcraft experiences
A boy knocked his foot against a small stump of wood in the centre of a bush path,
suffered pain, impossible to keep cut free from dirt and it began to fester
Declared it was the result of witchcraft, and he keeps an eye open for stumps however
as a result of being bewitched he was unable to detect the stump
Also argued that all cuts do not take days to heal but, close quickly, for that is nature of
Another example, where hut had been burned down which contained beer that a man was
preparing for a feast; he stated that he had gone the night before to check (believed due to
witch craft)
One of chief informants, Kisanga, was a skilled wood-carver where occasionally the
bowls and stools which he carved split during the work, as one may well imagine in such
a climate; attributed misfortune to witchcraft saying neighbours were jealous
These people did not attempt to account for the existence of phenomena, or even the
action of phenomena, by mystical causation alone
What they explained by witchcraft were the particular conditions in a chain of causation
which related an individual to natural happenings in such a way that he sustained injury
In Zandeland sometimes an old granary collapses; nothing remarkable about it because
everyone knows that termites are the result of this
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