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Misfortune narratives in Ephphata

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analysis the misfortune narratives which confirms people perceive and express suffering in different ways. In other words, languages of distress vary not only from one culture to another but also from one individual to another within the same culture. What are the cultural resources upon which patients draw to describe their suffering in the religious context of Ephphata? The chapter highlights especially the syncretic dimension of patients misfortune narratives to argue against the essentialist reading of contemporary African societies and to exemplify the workings of africanization at the grassroots. It focuses on how the sick person and the members of the family or wider social network perceive, live with, and respond not only to sickness, but to misfortunes in general. Indeed, in the context of Ephphata, illness is just one of the many reported misfortunes which are often all simply ascribed to the same cause: witchcraft.

Keywords: African societies; Ephphata; misfortune narratives; patient; suffering; syncretic dimension; witchcraft



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