Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Cacophony or Coherence: Ethnographic Writing and Competing Claims to Ritual and Textual Authority

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

This essay describes the challenges to ethnographic writing that are raised by multiplicity, contradiction, and conflicting narratives in the fieldwork process. Specifically, the essay examines multiple and sometimes opposing articulations of the causes for, and ritual treatments of, a malignant horoscopic condition called nāga dōsam (snake blemish) in contemporary South India. This examination raises questions about the relationships between textual knowledge and ritual performance, as well as the nature of competing claims to ritual and textual authority. At the heart of these interpretive questions lies the issue of representation, or how best to characterize such multiplicity and inconsistency in the ethnographic texts which grow from our field research. Drawing on excerpts from fieldwork interviews with two Brahmin religious specialists, this essay considers how best to evoke the realities of the Tamil ritual field without simply inscribing these power dynamics on the ethnographic text.

Affiliations: 1: Program in West and South Asian Religions, Emory University;, Email:


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Method & Theory in the Study of Religion — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation