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Possessed seer during the Feraomby ritual, November 2018.
Possessed seer during the Feraomby ritual, November 2018.
Photo: Anders Norge Lauridsen
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Doctoral Research: Pivoting Sihanaka Spirituality

Research project
Active research
Project period
2017 - 2022
Project owner
School of Global Studies

Short description

Spirits of various kinds inform life among the Sihanaka of Madagascar; ancestors, dead kings, apparitions, and spirits of the wild influence everyday life through taboos, dream visions, possession rituals, etcetera. Through ethnographic fieldwork, experimental methods, and archival research the project investigate how spirituality in the Sihanaka village of Anororo grows and alters over time.

Background and research aims

Spirits of various kinds inform life among the Sihanaka of Madagascar; ancestors, dead kings, apparitions, and spirits of the wild influence everyday life through taboos, dream visions, possession rituals, etcetera. Through ethnographic fieldwork, experimental methods, and archival research the project investigate how spirituality in the Sihanaka village of Anororo grows and alters over time. 

Method

The project is developing a new method called 'pivotation' to probe into how the Sihanaka experiences spirits, how they relate to them, and how they conceive of them. In short, the method is about using read-aloud stories as narrative pivots to bring about discussions among Sihanaka informants about the doings, capabilities, and intentions of spirits.