Spirits of Protest: Spirit-Mediums and the Articulation of Consensus among the Zezuru of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)

Spirits of Protest: Spirit-Mediums and the Articulation of Consensus among the Zezuru of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)

by Peter Fry

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Overview

In this study, Peter Fry describes and analyses spirit-mediumship amongst a community of Zezuru people living near Salisbury in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). He examines the belief system which underpins spirit-mediumship and the basis of the mediums' authority. He pays special attention to the way in which religious beliefs are used politically in specific social situations ranging from village disputes to issues of national importance. Instead of portraying the spirits and their mediums as a fixed and stable hierarchy, Peter Fry stresses the dynamics of a religious system which changes over time in relation to changing external factors and to the ability of individual competing mediums to build up followings by responding to and moulding consensus. The book makes comparisons between the religious systems of the Zezuru and the Valley Korekore, both subgroups of Shona-speaking peoples, and concludes by discussing the role of Zezuru mediums in the context of the confrontation between black and white nationalisms. The spirit-mediums, opposed structurally to the white mission churches, are seen as vehicles of black cultural nationalism in the area.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521040754
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/17/2007
Series: Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology , #14
Pages: 156
Product dimensions: 6.02(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.39(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Conventions; Introduction; 1. The secular background; 2. Magico-religious beliefs - the moral significance of explanation; 3. The sociology of spirit-mediumship; 4. Zezaru flexibility and Korekore rigidity; 5. Spirit-mediums in ritual action; 6. Spirit-mediums and missionaries; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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