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The making of peculiar artifacts: Living kind, artifact and social order in the Turkana sacrifice

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Using data collected among the Turkana of Kenya, I investigate specific configurations of actions found in sacrifices.I argue that Turkana sacrifice has specific cognitive effects and that those can be explained in terms of the activation of specific cognitive mechanisms. Turkana sacrifice elicits assumptions about living things and artifacts. It does that in a particular way: Living kinds are used as tools and artifacts, as if endowed with an essence. The systematic combination of such manipulations with ordinary action scripts, reoriented to build ritual sequences, and the display of social orders has important effects for participants' cognition.

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