Double, double toil and trouble: An investigation on occult forces expenditures in the heartland of voodoo Vincent Somville (Michelsen Institute, Bergen) Joël Noret (Université Libre de Bruxelles) Philippe LeMay-Boucher (Heriot-Watt University). 1. Preliminary considerations.
An investigation on occult forces expenditures in the heartland of voodoo
Vincent Somville (Michelsen Institute, Bergen)
Joël Noret (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Philippe LeMay-Boucher (Heriot-Watt University)
(Kohnert, 1983; Kadya Tall, 1995)
What drives decision to install a pit latrine in rural Benin (40 hh)?
→Protect from supernatural dangers (is one of the 3 main drive)
1) Fear of supernatural illnesses caused by smelling or seeing others’ faeces
2) Fear of encountering a snake: a sign of impending death in family / Fear of voodoo sorcery, magic, and dead spirits in the night
3) Fear of enemies stealing your faeces for sorcery against you
→ gives interpretations of misfortune
Not ‘belief’ about the world but self-evident & real force
Plurality of meanings, not all of them associated with harmful activities
jealousy, familial dispute over heritage, unsettled legal dispute (land ownership), professional progression
Visit / diagnosis
PROTECTION or CURE
→ Nothing on ‘attack’
(1) Use/belief in occult forces is not gender-specific
(2) Use/belief is common at different levels of education
(3) Use/belief is common among various religious affiliation.
Exception: Celestial, pentecostal, rosarian Evangelical churches provide protection against occult forces
(4) Do Magico-religious beliefs play an important role in the enforcement of redistributive norms?
(5) Higher transfer to hh & relatives reduces jealousy & need for protection/cure
(6) Death or funerals are great source of tensions.