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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Active Dead or Alive: Some Kenyan Views about the Agency of Luo and Luyia Women Pre- and Post-Mortem
Author:Schwartz, Nancy
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Kenya
African religions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Women's Issues
Cultural Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1581583
Abstract:This paper examines arguments surrounding interment among the Luo and Luyia of Kenya, arguing that paying attention to burial disputes can help to shed light on matters relating to gender, kinship, community, agency and power. Since Luo and Luyia believe that life after death is a significant part of a person's life, investigating 'the hold death has' upon people is important, as is the writing of 'life-and-death histories'. Based on three and a half years of fieldwork on the Legio Maria Church in western Kenya, the paper presents three cases of burial disputes, one involving a Luyia woman and two involving Luo women, in which the women have, in the view of community members, shown the ability to manipulate kinship structures and strictures pre and post-mortem. The paper challenges views that have depicted women in western Kenya as passive pawns of a particularly patriarchal form of patriliny. The paper discusses the effect religion has on views about death and burial, and examines the influence of indigenous religion, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism and Legio Maria on these cases. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.