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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
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RESORTING TO SHAMANIC AGENCIES: FILLING IN FOR THE FAILURE OF THE OFFICIAL INSTITUTIONS IN A SIBERIAN PERIPHERY (TYVA REPUBLIC, RUSSIA); pp. 133–149

Full article in PDF format | https://doi.org/10.3176/tr.2017.2.03

Author
Konstantinos Zorbas

Abstract

Drawing on a field study of shamanic remedies against affliction with curses in Tyva Republic (Siberia), this paper offers striking documentation of an ‘agency’ of social control and justice which is officially unseen by the Russian state. The paper identifies several crucial social implications of ‘shamanism’ as an unofficial redress for kinds of occult-mediated conflict which transcend the limits of state jurisdiction. The data on shamanic counter cursing and retaliatory practices provide evidence of the proliferation in Tyva of a pattern of interpersonal violence, associated with lethal appropriations of the ‘occult’ for rational purposes. The argument is advanced that the post-socialist ‘return’ of shamanic religion in the form of a ‘judicial offensive’ against misuses of the ‘occult’ in Tyva signifies a notable departure of ‘shamanism’ from typical meanings of traditional religion which emerge from the state’s law.


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