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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Lightning, Death and the Avenging Spirits: Bori Values in a Muslim World
Author:Masquelier, Adeline M.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Niger
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
spirit possession
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1581373.pdf
Abstract:'Bori' is a cult of spirit possession. It has adepts among the Mawri peasants of Arewa, southern Niger. This paper discusses 'bori' adepts' attempts to gain control over the flow that encompasses physiological, economic and cosmic processes all at once, and which finds its most salient expression in 'bori' understanding and management of lightning. Through an examination of the images, practices and disputes relating to local conceptualizations of lightning, the paper explores the unconventional forms that power, dissent and resistance take in the context of 'bori' and discusses the implications of the cult's representations of authority in the current sociopolitical context of Mawri life. Focusing on the interrelated themes of fire, rain and smithing, lying and oath-taking, flow and blockage, and burial and justice, the paper shows how 'bori' constitutes a statement of protest and defiance in the face of Islamic domination. Central to the argument is the notion that 'bori' articulates various levels of experience by mediating distant and elusive forces through the management of corporeal signs and immediate contexts. 'Bori' theories of lightning are part of a coherent vision of the world which centres upon notions of flow and balance at the personal, social and cosmological level. Bibliogr., notes, ref.