Body, Power, and Sacrifice in Equatorial Africa

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Titre Body, Power, and Sacrifice in Equatorial Africa
Type de publication Article de périodique
Langue principale de la publication anglais
Date de publication 2006
Auteur Florence BERNAULT
Titre du périodique Journal of African history
Volume ou tome 47
N° de la livraison 2
Pages de ... à (pp. x-x) 207-239
Genre article scientifique
Résumé/Présentation "This article revisits the trope of the traffic in body parts in colonial and postcolonial Equatorial Africa. Current analyses, mostly written by anthropologists and sociologists, explain these rumors by the destructive integration of Africa in the world's economy and the commodification of the human body. While acknowledging their fertility, I argue that these approaches fail to understand how, during the colonial era, Europeans and Africans participated in the re-enchanting of the human body. The first part of the article examines Equatorial African conceptions of the body as central in the crafting of power and social reproduction, and reconstructs how these views were disturbed by colonial intrusion. The second part turns to European discourses and suggests that the colonial situation revealed significant contradictions in the western fiction of a modern disconnect between the body and power. The series of political and moral transgressions triggered by the conquest made apparent how Europeans themselves envisioned political survival as a form of positive exchange revolving around the body-fetish. The third section puts these ideas to the test of funeral practices to show how, in the colony, black and white bodies became re-sacralized as political resources. Building on these findings, the conclusion questions anthropologists' and historians' tendency to draw epistemic boundaries between western and African imaginaries"
Référence complète Bernault, Florence. Body, Power, and Sacrifice in Equatorial Africa. In : Journal of African history, vol. 47, 2006, n°2, p. 207-239.

Auteurs

Florence BERNAULT

Nationalité : France