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The Possessed and the Dispossessed: Spirits, Identity, and Power in a Madagascar Migrant Town
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Author: Lesley A. Sharp.
ISBN-10: 0-520-20708-4 (0520207084)
ISBN-13: 978-0-520-20708-0 (9780520207080)
Language: English
No. of Pages: xix + 345
Dimensions: 152mm x 229mm x 22mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 1013
Shelving Location: Ethnography & Ethnology
Estimated Value: £15.00
Purchase Date: 9 March 2007
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Price Paid: Log In to view this

The Possessed and the Dispossessed

Spirits, Identity, and Power in a Madagascar Migrant Town

(Comparative Studies of Health Systems and Medical Care)
University of California Press (1996). (First Published 1993)
Softcover Book

A detailed and academic analysis of possession, and the issues that surround it, in Malagasy culture.


  • Contents
  • Figures
  • Plates
  • Textual Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Map
  • 1. Introduction: Possession, Identity, and Power: Theoretical and Methodological Considerations
    • Critical Approaches to the Study of Affliction
      • Health and Critiques of Capitalism
      • Moving Beyond Class-Based Analysis: Understanding the Migration Experience in Northwest Madagascar
      • Understanding Indigenous Notions of Power
      • Historical Considerations
    • Investigating Possession: Social Change, Marginality, and Religious Experience
      • Ritual, Symbolic Action, and Power
      • The Question of Possession and Marginality
      • The Body as a Natural Symbol
    • The Logic and Methods of Inquiry
      • The Setting
      • Research Methods
      • The Organization of the Study
      • Notes
  • Part I. Historic, Political-Economic, and Social Levels of Experience
  • 2. The Political Economy of the Sambirano
    • Ambanja, A Plantation Community
      • The Town and its Environs
    • An Economic and Political History of the region
      • Precolonial History: The Bemazava-Sakalava
      • The Establishment of French Control
      • The Development of the Sambirano
      • Effects on Land Tenure
      • Zaloky’s Homestead
    • Local Power and Reactions to Colonialism
      • Local Authority and Power
      • Resistance and Revolt in the Sambirano
      • The Social Construction of Work
      • Notes
  • 3. National and Local Factions: The Nature of Polyculturalism in Ambanja
    • National Factions: Regionalism and Cultural Stereotypes
      • Ethnic Categories
      • The Malagasy
      • Non-Malagasy Strangers (Etrangers)
      • Malagasy Ethnic Groups: How Difference Is Perceived
      • Geographical Territory and Ethnicity
      • The Highlands versus the Coast
      • The Tanindrazana or Ancestral Land
      • Economic Specialization
      • Religious Affiliation
    • Social and Cultural Divisions in Ambanja
      • The Social Categories of Ambanja
      • Malagasy Ethnic Groups and Their Points of Origin
      • Local Territory and the Ancestral Land
      • Ethnicity and Economic Specialization
      • Religion
      • Islam
      • The Catholic Church
      • Protestantism
      • Fomba-gasy, or Malagasy Religion
    • The Effects of Polyculturalism
      • Sakalava Perspectives
      • Defining Tera-Tany and Vahiny
      • Notes
  • 4. Tera-Tany and Vahiny: Insiders and Outsiders
    • Migrant Stories
      • Antandroy Migrants: The Story of Guardian
      • The Traveling Merchants from the High Plateau
      • Roland’s Cookware Factory
      • The Antaisaka Handcart Team
      • The Botabes
      • Mme Razafy, Merina Schoolteacher
      • “Te Ho Mody”: I Want to Go Home.
    • Patterns of Association and Means for Incorporation
      • Preserving Ethnic Distinctions: Mutual Aid Associations
      • Polycultural Groups
      • Changes to Sakalava Social Structure
      • Marriage Across Ethnic Lines
      • Post-Partum Practices as a Form of Ritual Incorporation
      • Notes
  • Part II. Spirit Possession in the Sambirano
  • 5. The World of the Spirits
    • The Dynamics of Tromba in Daily Life
      • Tromba in Royal Contexts
      • The Popularization of Tromba
      • The Organizing Principles of Tromba
    • The Possession Experience
      • Angeline’s Tromba Ceremony
    • Other Members of the Spirit World
      • Other Spirits of Human Origin: Razan̂a and Lolo
      • Nature Spirits that Require Mediums: Tsin̂y and Kalanoro
      • Evil Spirits
      • Njarinintsy, Masoantoko, Shay-tuan
      • Bilo
      • Responses to Possession Sickness
      • Notes
  • 6. Sacred Knowledge and Local Power: Tromba and the Sambirano Economy
    • Tromba as Ethnohistory
      • Dead Men Do Tell Tales: Possession as Collective Memory
      • Grandparents
      • Children
      • Grandchildren
      • Spirits for Common Folk: Zaman’i’bao, Raleva, Mampiary, Djao Kondry, and Be Ondry
    • Tromba, Wage Labor, and Economic Independence
      • Tromba and Their Fady
      • Working in the Sambirano
      • Tromba as a Critique of Capitalist Production and Relations
      • Berthine’s Past Experiences as an Enterprise Laborer
      • Angeline’s Problems with Coffee
    • Tromba and Collective Power in the Sambirano
      • Malagasization and Economic Development
      • The Fishery in Nosy Be
      • The New High School
      • Bemazava Spiritual Authority and Economic Development
      • Notes
  • 7. Spirit Mediumship and Social Identity
    • Selfhood and Personhood in the Context of Possession
      • Shifting Selves
      • The Social Persona, or Mediumship and Personhood
      • Gender, Age, and Possession
      • The Cultural Persona: Changing Ethnic Identity
      • Migrants as Mediums
    • Turning Outsiders into Insiders: Mediums’ Social Networks and Personal Relationships
      • Basely and the Angry, Unrequited Spirit
      • Tromba as Fictive Kinship: Spiritual Polyandry and Polygyny
      • Going In and Out of Trance: Male Versus Female Identities and Their Associated Kinship Ties
      • Tromba in the Home
      • Alice and Her Merina Husband: Tromba and Marriage
      • Mediums and Their Rangahy
      • Monique and Her Medium Friend, Marie
    • Miasa Ny Tromba: Mediumship as Work
      • Time and Possession: The Tromba Calendar and Client Consultations
      • Marie and Mampiary: Problems at Work and Spiritual Intervention
      • Feeding the Spirits: Medium-Client Relationships
      • Marivola’s Bad Medicine
      • Notes
  • Part III. The Conflicts of Town Life
  • 8. The Problems and Conflicts of Town Life: The Adult World
    • Malagasy Concepts of Healing
      • Fanafody-Gasy, Fanafody Vazaha
    • Sickness and Death
      • Witchcraft Accusations against Old Mama Rose
    • Work and Success
      • Doné and His Troubles at Work
      • Status, Success, and Power
      • The Case of Fatima
    • Love and Money, Wives and Mistresses
      • The Story of Lalao
      • Notes
  • 9. The Social World of Children
    • The Possessed Youth of Ambanja
      • Sosotra and the Njarinintsy
      • Schoolyard Posssession
      • Njarinintsy Possession and Social Status
    • The Disorder of a Fragmented World
      • Colonial Policies and National Trends: Educational Dilemmas
      • Children and Polyculturalism
      • Self-Advancement and Fanafody
      • Coping with Pregnancy
    • Children and Social Change
      • Displaced Sakalava and Invading Spirits
      • Responses to Schoolyard Possession: Sakalava Revivalism
      • Notes
  • 10. Exorcising the Spirits: The Alternative Therapeutics of Protestantism
    • Sakalava Perceptions of Possession and Madness
      • The Case of Victoria
      • The Limitations of Clinical Medicine
    • Catholic and Muslim Perspectives on Possession
      • Catholic Enculturation and Attitudes toward Possession
      • Islam
    • The Fifohazana or Protestant Exorcists
      • Exorcism as Therapy
      • The Protestant Toby (Camps) or Curing Retreats
      • Seeking Cures for Possession: Three Case Studies
      • Vivienne
      • Elisabeth
      • Zaloky
    • The Power of Protestant Healing
      • Redefining the Symbolic Order through an Alternative Epistemological System
      • Work, Independence, and Empowerment
      • Structural Shifts and Redefining Identity
      • Joining a Community of Strangers
      • Notes
  • Conclusion: Toward a Reassessment of the Possessed and Dispossesed
  • Appendices
    • A. Glossary of Malagasy Terms
    • B. List of the Possessed
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index


  • This title is no. 37 in the series.

Condition of Item

Very Good.

Refer to the glossary for definitions of terms used to describe the condition of items.


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