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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From Wombs to Farmland: The Transformation of Suman Shrines in Southern Ghana
Author:Ishii, Miho
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Ghana
land tenure
Development and Technology
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/27594340.pdf
Abstract:Based on fieldwork conducted in an Akan-based migrant society in Akyem Abuakwa in the eastern region of Ghana, the author analyses the transformation of spirit or 'suman' shrines, originally used as antiwitchcraft sites, into shrines offering treatment against a special form of magic used only by Ewe immigrants. Rather than seeing this phenomenon as being a result of the social change caused by the booming cocoa industry, the author also considers the particularities of the various kinship patterns in the region. He shows how the present orientation of the shrines follows from Akan people's worry that their matrilineal organization patterns are being undermined by the patrilineal forms of organization of Ewe immigrants. This tension should be seen against a wider economic background: the increasing pressure on land allows Akan owners to impose stringent forms of exploitation on Ewe immigrants, who accept demanding forms of sharecropping - and exact their revenge for the terms of their exploitation by mystical means. The shrines thus shift their focus from the protection of human reproduction to contemporary forms of contract, as those with claims to the land threaten the stability of rural production in new ways. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]