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Sorcery And Spirit Owners On The Mosquito Coast, Nicaragua
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 18:45
This presentation explores the relationship between religion and economics in Miskitu-speaking villages in eastern Nicaragua. I show how, in these communities, the penetration of capitalist relations of production and exchange is resulting in greater economic inequality and growing concerns with sorcery and other forms of supernatural violence.
Evening talk information
Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.
Next evening class
In the Batek’s forest, laughter and mockery are often subject to taboo, and inappropriate laughter or mockery can cause storms, madness, ill-health, or even death. However, although these taboos are viewed and described with utmost seriousness, people also find great pleasure in laughing together and making jokes. In fact, this pleasure is often intensified when the laughter or joke is forbidden and risks catastrophe. This sets up a dynamic whereby it is largely up to individuals whether they choose to follow the taboos, or to ignore them and succumb to the pleasure of sharing in subversive laughter. Speaking to debates on power and ethics, this paper therefore both outlines the Batek’s laughter taboos, and asks how managing the conflicting demands of laughter shapes people’s ethical values, particularly in relation to power, authority, and egalitarianism.