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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From sickness to history: evil spirits, memory and responsibility in an Ethiopian market village
Author:Boylston, Tom
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Ethiopia
world view
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972016001017
Abstract:This article discusses contemporary anxieties about 'buda' spirit attacks around a marketplace in Amhara region, Ethiopia. It asks how we get from the immediate experience of a 'buda' attack, an emotionally intense scene of sickness, fear and uncertainty, to a reflexive situation in which 'buda' becomes a vehicle for discussing and understanding deep historic concerns about market exchange. The author makes two main arguments: first, that apparent connections between spiritual attack and the spread of capitalism in fact reflect a deeper-lying opposition, on the part of landed elites, between moral hospitality and immoral exchange. Second, he shows how this historical consciousness develops from processes of verification and questioning through which immediate experiences of sickness and fear become interpretable as 'buda' attacks associated with particular human agents and historical relationships. The author argues that only by following this local epistemological work that we can understand how spirits become identifiable as historical agents within a web of other social relations. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]