The Emotional Roots of Religious Possession. A Comparative Ethnography

Halloy Arnaud
Dupuis David
Language of the article : French
DOI: 10.3406/intel.2017.1847
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This article is based on a comparative ethnography of the possession trance in two religious contexts: the Xangô, an initiatory cult of Yoruba origin in Recife (Brazil), and Takiwasi, one of the main "shamanic centers" of the Peruvian Amazon. This comparison suggests that certain traits related to rituals and cultural elements of the religious practices organize the experience of possession, and in particular its emotional dimension.

We propose here to explore the emotional dimension of possession, often treated as contingent in cognitive, functionalist or symbolic approaches to possession trance. We suggest that the emergence of possession is suspended to a learning process on the part of the candidates for possession, but also by religious specialists whose function is to guide them in this learning process. This learning involves not only the induction of specific emotions, their identification, but also their interpretation, organization and expression in the prism of the cultural expectations of the social group. We will then seek to identify what, in the emotional dimension of possession, brings together and distinguishes the two religious cultures. The exploration of the emotional dimension of possession proposed here can be seen as a first step in the direction of a wider modeling of the phenomenon, which remains to be realized.

Pour citer cet article :

Halloy Arnaud, Dupuis David (2017/1). The Emotional Roots of Religious Possession. A Comparative Ethnography. In Dumas Guillaume & Fortier Martin & González Juan C. (Eds), Debating altered states of consciousness: Pitfalls of past research and rising new paradigms, Intellectica, 67, (pp.301-326), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2017.1847.