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Title:Narratives of power, images of wealth: The ritual economy of 'Bori' in the market
Author:Masquelier, Adeline M.ISNI
Book title:Modernity and Its Malcontents: Ritual and Power in Postcolonial Africa
Editors:Comaroff, J.
Comaroff, J.L.
City of publisher:Chicago, IL
Publisher:The University of Chicago Press
Geographic term:Niger
spirit possession
Abstract:This account of the 'ritual economy' of a Hausa market, that of Dogondoutchi, a village in the Arewa region of Niger, discusses a particular event - the opening of a new marketplace - that occurred in the village in 1989 and is revealing of the ways in which the 'bori' possession cult provides a voice for a minority of Mawri who have been silenced by Islam, the religious establishment. The author shows that though they have been estranged from the tangible structures of wealth and authority, 'bori' devotees have successfully managed to channel their own forms of potency through the ritual manipulation of empowering signs and techniques. In attempting to reassert their independence from the hegemony of Islam, 'bori' members are in effect reworking the bases of a moral economy which rejects the rules and principles laid down by Muslim clerics and merchants. The 'bori' members' reaction to Muslim structures of control remains a largely inarticulate and implicit protest which rarely takes the form of a cogent political discourse, but the cult's images and narratives are nevertheless a powerful vehicle of collective consciousness. Bibliogr., notes, ref.