Amhara Traditions of Knowledge
Spirit Mediums and their Clients
|pages/dimensions: ||XVIII, 270 pages, 1 ill. - 17 × 24 cm|
|publishing date: ||Print-on-Demand-Reprint 2001|
|prices: ||64,00 Eur[D] / 65,80 Eur[A] / 114,00 CHF|
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Amhara Traditions of Knowledge Spirit Mediums and their Clients is a study of how knowledge is socially organised and used among the Amhara peasants in Yefat (North Shäwa). A major challenge in analysing knowledge and practices related to curing and divination with the help of mystical, spiritual powers, is their complexity and enormous variation. Unlike most studies of Ethiopian spirit possession, the author takes the ambiguities and variation as his starting point. The analysis combines a hermeneutical and processual approach and is based on detailed ethnographic data with an in-depth study of one spirit medium (balä weqabi) and the ebbs and flows of the cult that developed around his activity. The variation in spirit beliefs and knowledge systems among the Amhara can be understood in view of the nature of knowledge transmission and management within the spirit cults. Amhara Traditions of Knowledge can also be read as a study of the dynamic relationship between great and little traditions; between the long traditions of the Ethiopian church and state on the one hand, and the syncretic creativity of folk religion on the other.