Mambila Divination: Framing Questions, Constructing Answers, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Mambila Divination

Framing Questions, Constructing Answers, 1st Edition

By David Zeitlyn

Routledge

280 pages | 34 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367199500
pub: 2020-03-31
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Description

This book offers a major contribution to the study and analysis of divination, based on continuing fieldwork with the Mambila in Cameroon. It seeks to return attention to the details of divinatory practice, using the questions asked, and life histories to help understand the perspective of the clients rather than that of the diviners.

Drawing on a corpus of more than 600 cases, David Zeitlyn reconsiders theories of divination and compares Mambila spider divination with similar systems in the area. A detailed case study is examined, and analysed using conversational analytic principles. The regional comparison considers different kinds of explanation for different features of social organisation, leading to a discussion of the continuing utility of moderated functionalism.  

The book will be of interest to area specialists and scholars concerned with religion, rationality and decision making, from disciplines including anthropology, African studies and philosophy.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction. Divination studies in the twenty-first century: setting the research agenda; Part I: Studying; 2. Techniques of divination: studies in interpretation; 3. Finding meaning in the text: the process of interpretation in text-based divination. Leavis in the bush; 4. Spiders in and out of court: styles of spider divination in their sociological contexts; 5: Divinatory logics: how diagnoses and predictions mediate outcomes; Part II: Doing; 6. Mambila Divination; 7. Case studies: logic in action; Part III: Using; 8. Framing questions: does divination pay attention to pragmatics?; 9. A sociology of problems; 10. Divination in life histories

About the Author

David Zeitlyn is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Anthropology

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC002000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General