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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Domesticating Personal Violence: Witchcraft, Courts, and Confessions in Cameroon
Authors:Fisiy, Cyprian F.
Geschiere, PeterISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Cameroon
criminal law
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Cultural Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1160784
Abstract:In many parts of Africa, discourses on witchcraft and sorcery seem to follow a modernization process of their own. There are striking regional variations in the ways in which these discourses are articulated with State formation and the emergence of new modes of accumulation. A common denominator remains, however, the close connection between witchcraft and aggression from within the 'house'. In many respects, witchcraft is still the dark side of kinship, even in modern settings. It is against this background that this article explores the implications of a new type of witchcraft trial in the Eastern Province of Cameroon. Since 1980 State courts have started to convict 'witches' mainly on the basis of the expertise of witch doctors. This seems to be accompanied by the emergence of a 'modern' type of witch doctor, more intent on punishing than on healing, who tries to recruit his clients in very aggressive ways. In other parts of Cameroon, e.g. the western and northwestern regions, the articulation of local witchcraft beliefs and State authority seems to follow different trajectories. These differences seem to be related to the degree to which local patterns of kinship organization can accommodate new inequalities. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.