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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Kuria Homestead in Space and Time
Author:Ruel, Malcolm J.
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic terms:Kenya
social change
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1581623
Abstract:A number of studies have been made showing how settlement and domestic family patterns in small-scale societies carry cosmic implications. This paper takes up this theme and develops it further in two ways: first, by matching the cosmic implications against forty years of social change; second, by suggesting how ritual innovation can articulate cosmological change, where the innovation is more radical in form than in content. Data are derived from research among the Kuria of Kenya and Tanzania in the 1950s and the 1990s. Kuria cosmology is a view of the world that starts from within collectively ordered society - the familial society of residence and home - and looks out to the wider natural world, which is exploited by people and provides resources, but which is inherently hazardous and ultimately unknown. The author uses an incident which occurred during a visit to Kuria in 1998 (instead of the conventional sign, the sign of the cross was made during a ritual act) to illustrate Kuria 'conversion' to Christianity. He argues that the substitution of one ritual act for another should not be represented as a switch in 'belief system' but rather may be seen as a development or extension of pre-existing ideas. Bibliogr., notes, ref.