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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Imagined Community of the Antankarana: Identity, History and Ritual in Northern Madagascar
Authors:Lambek, MichaelISNI
Walsh, Andrew
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa (ISSN 0022-4200)
Geographic term:Madagascar
Antankarana polity
kingship rituals
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1581742
Abstract:The Antankaraņa, occupants of the far northern portion of Madagascar, are generally described in the literature and by educated Malagasy as one of some 18 'tribes' or 'ethnies' into which the island is said to be divided. The present authors problematize this kind of hegemonic depiction of social groups as discrete, bounded, reified entities. They suggest that alongside it, and rooted more deeply in northwest Madagascar, is a logic of collective identity constituted less by categorization than performance and less by exclusion than by inclusion. The authors argue that Antankaraņa identity is established less by a conceptual grid of ascriptive categories than by means of commitment to a certain historical narrative and its regular reenactment in a ceremonial cycle. In discussing the cycle the authors pay particular attention to its spatio-temporal qualities and the sense of potent, yet controlled, rhythmical continuity it brings to Antankaraņa social identity. They show how ritual enactment instantiates the constitutional relationship between sovereign and subject. In the last section they turn to the objectification of the ritual within present-day Madagascar. Bibliogr., notes, ref.