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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:On representation and power: portrait of a Vodun leader in present-day Benin
Author:Tall, Emmanuelle KadyaISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Benin
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972013000764
Abstract:This paper discusses the power of Vodun leaders in present-day Benin, and more specifically anti-witchcraft cults born from the encounter with world religions. It considers the way in which some religious leaders emerged as mediators between the State, civil society and the transatlantic African diaspora at the beginning of the 1990s. After a brief historical and socio-political overview of the relationship between the State and vodun cults in precolonial times, the article sketches a portrait of a Tron (anti-witchcraft cult) leader who, in the wake of the 92 Ouidah festival, managed to extend his power gradually, through increased responsibilities given to him under successive governments.Offering an analysis inspired by Louis Marin's theory on power in its representation, the author illustrates her analysis through the portrait of Gbediga, a vodun leader with a view to escape from a functionalist analysis of occult power or syncretism. With the baroque mirror metaphor conceived as a device, which underscores what it is that connects heterogeneous practices, Tall describes what is shown in the rituals and practices of a vodun leader and emphasizes the centrality of the transubstantiation phenomenon in the production of a community of believers. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]