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The etiology of the Wimbum people in the Western Grassfields of Cameroon is described through an examination of the way in which the meanings of key concepts, used to interpret and explain illness and other forms of misfortune, are continually being produced and reproduced in the praxis of everyday communication. During the course of numerous dialogues, witchcraft, a highly ambivalent force, gradually emerges as the prime mover. As destructive cannibals or respectable elders the witches are the ultimate cause of all significant illness, misfortune and death, and as diviners they are also the ultimate judges who apportion moral responsibility. Even the ancestors and the traditional gods turn out to be fronts behind which the witches hide their activities.The study is on three levels: a medical anthropological exploration of explanations of illness and misfortune; a detailed ethnography of traditional African cosmology and witchcraft; and an examination of recent theoretical issues in anthropology such as the nature of ethnographic fieldwork and the possibility of dialogical or postmodern ethnography.

Dialogue and the Interpretation of Illness - Robert Pool

9781859730164
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Title
Dialogue and the Interpretation of Illness - Conversations in a Cameroon Village
Author
Robert Pool
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Routledge
Language
English
UK Publication Date
19940511

The etiology of the Wimbum people in the Western Grassfields of Cameroon is described through an examination of the way in which the meanings of key concepts, used to interpret and explain illness and other forms of misfortune, are continually being produced and reproduced in the praxis of everyday communication. During the course of numerous dialogues, witchcraft, a highly ambivalent force, gradually emerges as the prime mover. As destructive cannibals or respectable elders the witches are the ultimate cause of all significant illness, misfortune and death, and as diviners they are also the ultimate judges who apportion moral responsibility. Even the ancestors and the traditional gods turn out to be fronts behind which the witches hide their activities.The study is on three levels: a medical anthropological exploration of explanations of illness and misfortune; a detailed ethnography of traditional African cosmology and witchcraft; and an examination of recent theoretical issues in anthropology such as the nature of ethnographic fieldwork and the possibility of dialogical or postmodern ethnography.

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Robert Pool London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Type
BOOK
Edition
1st edition
Country of Publication
England
Number of Pages
298

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