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PERVERSION OF POWER: WITCHCRAFT AND THE SEXUALITY OF EVIL IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN LOWVELD

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During recent years, fears of witchcraft and the violent punishment of witches have become commonplace in the Bushbuckridge region of the South African lowveld. My fieldwork in a village of Bushbuckridge highlights the crucial importance of sexuality in witchcraft discourses. Narratives about the sexual practices of witches formed part of the same moral system as those about the unacceptable sexual conduct of ordinary villagers. But there were also important differences between these. Whilst the unacceptable sexual conduct of ordinary villagers transgressed general moral ideals, the sexual practices of witches transgressed local hierarchies of domination and were conceptualised as perversions of power. I suggest that the most appropriate perspective on witchcraft is one that seeks to integrate a concern with broader political economic processes with a rigorous analysis of the micro-politics of sexuality, kinship and morality.

10.1163/157006602760599926
/content/journals/10.1163/157006602760599926
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/content/journals/10.1163/157006602760599926
2002-09-01
2016-12-05

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