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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:From hostage to host: Confessions of a spirit medium in Niger
Author:Masquelier, Adeline M.ISNI
Geographic term:Niger
Subject:spirit possession
Abstract:Spirit possession ostensibly solves problems by freeing the object of possession from certain responsibilities, yet it also creates a whole nexus of unavoidable obligations as the human host learns to cope with the social, financial, and moral demands of her powerful alter ego. Rather than simplifying situations, possession complicates them by introducing new relations and enabling new forms of communication. In this article, I explore what bori possession as communication entailed for a young Mawri woman from Dogondoutchi (Niger) when her possessing spirit made dramatic revelations that forced her to make changes in her life. I show that possession opens up a space of self-awareness for mediums as they struggle to gain progressive control over their terms of their relationships with spirits. In this space of reflexivity they help create and in their role as interlocutors, accusers, or diviners, spirits play a crucial role in the refashioning of human histories and identities. [Abstract journal]