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Author Smith, James Howard.

Title Bewitching development : witchcraft and the reinvention of development in neoliberal Kenya / James Howard Smith
Published Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2008
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xv, 269 pages) : illustrations
Series Chicago studies in practices of meaning
Chicago studies in practices of meaning.
Contents Bewitching development : the disintegration and reinvention of development in Kenya -- I still exist! Taita historicity -- Development's other : witchcraft as development through the looking glass -- "Each household is a kingdom" : development and witchcraft at home -- "Dot com will die seriously!" spatiotemporal miscommunication and competing sovereignties in Taita thought and ritual -- NGOs, gender, and sovereign child -- Democracy victorious: exorcising witchcraft from development -- Conclusion: Tempopolitics, or why development should not be defined as the improvement of living standards
Summary "These days, development inspires scant trust in the West. For critics who condemn centralized efforts to plan African societies as latter day imperialism, such plans too closely reflect their roots in colonial rule and neoliberal economics. But proponents of this pessimistic view often ignore how significant this concept has become for Africans themselves. In Bewitching Development, James Howard Smith presents a close ethnographic account of how people in the Taita Hills of Kenya have appropriated and made sense of development thought and practice, focusing on the complex ways that development connects with changing understandings of witchcraft. Similar to magic, development's promise of a better world elicits both hope and suspicion from Wataita. Smith shows that the unforeseen changes wrought by development - greater wealth for some, dashed hopes for many more - foster moral debates that Taita people express in occult terms. By carefully chronicling the beliefs and actions of this diverse community - from frustrated youths to nostalgic seniors, duplicitous preachers to thought-provoking witch doctors - Bewitching Development vividly depicts the social life of formerly foreign ideas and practices in postcolonial Africa." Publisher's Description
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 255-266) and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Economic development -- Kenya -- Taita Hills.
Taita (African people) -- Rites and ceremonies.
Taita (African people) -- Social life and customs.
Witchcraft -- Kenya -- Taita Hills.
Taita Hills (Kenya) -- Economic conditions.
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2008000461
ISBN 0226764591 (electronic bk.)
9780226764597 (electronic bk.)
Other Titles Witchcraft and the reinvention of development in neoliberal Kenya