Get Border Fetishisms: Material Objects in Unstable Spaces PDF

By Patricia Spyer

ISBN-10: 041591857X

ISBN-13: 9780415918572

First released in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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This is a better solution than to call them "marapu worshippers," which inaccurately assimilates the ritual re­ lationship with marapu to very different sorts of religious practice. 5. Pak Kadiwangu's historicizing version of the relation between ma­ rapu and Christian religions shows interesting parallels (whether intentional or not I cannot say) to the typological reading of the Bible. In this hermeneu­ Calvin in the Tropics 31 tic tradition, the New Testament reveals the truth which was only immanent in the Old Testament.

The next logical step, then, would be to work towards rein­ terpreting feasts as symbolic activities. This led to proposals that Sumbanese practices might take on new functions: The giving of food to the dead and the dead-feasts can be renewed in a commemoration speech on New Year's Eve. Harvest feasts become thanksgiving days. . In funerals, animals may rightly be killed but only those which are necessary to provide food for those in atten­ dance. The custom among the Sumbanese, to bring home the meat given to the spirits, is transposed into support for the poor.

The authority of ritual speech remains very strong, even for Sumbanese Christians. In­ deed, the more that ritual speech is performed without the "base" of material offerings, the more authority is invested in the speech itself. Nonetheless, the “marapu words" (//marapu), have three defining fea­ tures that, for Christians, implicate them with the general threat of fetishism. For one thing, the words, by definition, do not come from the speaker but from the ancestors themselves. In addition, this ori­ gin is marked by the form the words take, for ritual speech must fol­ low strict poetic rules and is composed of a fixed canon of couplets.

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Border Fetishisms: Material Objects in Unstable Spaces by Patricia Spyer


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