Divining troubles, or divining troubles? Emergent and conflictual dimensions of Bangladeshi divination

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Divination is more dialogical than some diviners or anthropologists have made it appear. I analyze the transcript of one Bangladeshi divination event, comparing it with a dozen others performed by one diviner, Delwar, revealing how tenuously he manages to assign a single meaning to troubles, especially when clients openly compare his declarations with their intimate knowledge of those troubles. I explain how divinations could appear to be texts rather than emergent products of interaction. Diviners entextualize their declamations, doing their best to keep context at bay. Anthropologists who concentrate on textual products of divination - like Delwar's declamations - have made divination appear to enable groups to manage conflicts by transcending personal intentionality. Such representations elide troublesome interactive processes in which declamations emerge, meet potential rejection by clients, and are always vulnerable to recontextualization as clients might return to the diviner as events shift their perception of earlier divinations ' accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-200
Number of pages11
JournalAnthropological Quarterly
Volume74
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2001
Externally publishedYes

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event
interaction
Divination
Group
Declamation
Anthropologists
Interaction
Rejection
Declaration
Intentionality
Recontextualization

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • Dialogism
  • Divination
  • Entexualization
  • South Asia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

Cite this

Divining troubles, or divining troubles? Emergent and conflictual dimensions of Bangladeshi divination. / Wilce Jr, James M.

In: Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 4, 10.2001, p. 190-200.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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