Simona Taliani

The Force of Culture. In the Face of Witchcraft Anguish: Anthropology

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Conspiracy, Witchcraft Crisis, Anthropological Knowledge, Identifications, Transfer of Fear.

This paper analyses the conditions of suffering and uncertainty arising within current transformations in migration, and more in particular in motherhood experiences of African women in Italy. On the basis of an extensive ethnographic research, the author proposes a framework to understand the logic of suspicion and conspiratorial thinking, resulting from episodes of mother-children separation. At the core of the article lies the question of the role of anthropologists inside complex ethnographic relationships, and of anthropological knowledge as a hermeneutic tool to face anguish in times of crisis or so-called «end of the world» (De Martino). The author suggests a reflection on the methodological and moral challenges confronted by scholars in dealing with witchcraft accusations, forms of resistance, and transfer of fear, in order to use anthropology as a knowledge-power able to produce, under certain conditions, counter-practices of struggle and freedom.

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