Enquiry on Vodou

Mon, 7 Oct 1996 21:52:09 UT

Sent: 07 October 1996 16:20
To: 'anthro-l@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu'
Subject: Enquiry on Vodou

To whom ever wishes to browse this enquiry,
I wish to know whether there are any other anthropologists
currently researching Vodou. I have just embarked on my Phd and I plan to
reserach Vodou as it occurs in one particular community in Haiti. Preliminary
field research has already been undertaken. Subsequent data challenges much of
the literature written on this subject. This in itself corresponds with
Laguerre's comments on relativity in 'Voodoo and Politics'. At present the
data suggests Vodou can only be used in terms of an overarching classificatory
system in which there are a multitude of religious variations. Certain topics
I wish to cover are the various kinds of induction processes, and whether one
particular induction is regarded by those who attend a ritual centre as being
more valid than another. One form of induction I am particularly interested in
is the legitimisatrion of ritual specialist through personal affliction.
Affliction in this sense derives from the lwa demanding that a person serves
Also theories on how Vodou allays the feeling of stress that Haitian people
suffer due to their poverty stricken lifestyle. This theory of a safety valve,
originating from Malinowski seems to be only partially satisfactory. At
ceremonies I attended one type of economic anxiety was replaced by another
type of anxiety. An anxiety produced by not knowing what the forthcoming hours
would bring, would the lwa chastise him/her, would the lwa possess him/her,
would the lwa not attend.

This is a small portion of the overall research plan. Anybody who has an
e-mail address for Karen Mc Carthy Brown and Michel Laguerre.