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Author Thornton, Robert J., author

Title Healing the exposed being : a South African ngoma tradition / Robert J. Thornton
Published Baltimore, Maryland : Project Muse, 2017
Johannesburg [South Africa] : Wits University Press, 2017
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (1 PDF (xvi, 336 pages)) : illustrations
Contents 1. Bungoma or 'philosophy of the drum' in the South African Lowveld -- 2. The material logic of evil and the augmented self -- 3. 'Cleaves Water', eats intwaso : becoming a healer in the bungoma tradition -- 4 The transmission of knowledge in bungoma -- 5. Healing conflict : the politics of interpersonal distress -- 6. Marginal utilities and the 'hidden hand' of zombies -- 7. The market for healing and the elasticity of belief -- 8. Apotropaic magic and the sangoma's patient -- 9. Magical weevils and amaryllis in southern African ritual landscapes -- 10. Magical empiricism and the 'exposed being' in public health and traditional healing
Summary This ethnography explores the Ngoma healing tradition as practised in eastern Mpumalanga, South Africa. 'Bungoma' is an active philosophical system and healing practice consisting of multiple strands that is basedon the notion that humans are intrinsically exposed to each other; while this is the cause of illness, it is also the condition for the possibility of healing. This healing seeks to protect the 'exposed being' from harm through augmenting the self. Unlike Western medicine, it does not seek to cure physical ailments but aims to prevent suffering by allowing patients to transform their personal narratives of self. Like Western medicine, it is empirical and is presented as 'local knowledge' that amounts to a practical anthropology of human conflict and the environment. The book examines this anthropology through political, economic, interpretive and environmental lenses and seeks to bring its therapeutic applications into relation with global academic anthropology
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 292-307) and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Healing -- South Africa -- Mpumalanga.
Rites and ceremonies -- South Africa -- Mpumalanga.
Traditional medicine -- South Africa -- Mpumalanga.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 1776140192