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The Possessed and the DispossessedSpirits, Identity, and Power in a Madagascar Migrant Town$
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Lesley Sharp

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780520080010

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520080010.001.0001

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Tera-Tanny and Vahiny

Tera-Tanny and Vahiny

Insiders and Outsiders

(p.81) Chapter IV Tera-Tanny and Vahiny
The Possessed and the Dispossessed

Lesley A. Sharp

University of California Press

The complexity of factionalism makes migrant status a perplexing one in Ambanja. Clearly there are advantages to being an insider: one has first rights to the land, a greater access to and an understanding of local power structures, an understanding of Sakalava culture, and, most important, social acceptance among Sakalava. Since the essential characteristic of insider status is Sakalava ethnicity, the boundary is a fairly rigid one. Migrants face the contradictions between how they perceive their own identities, based on their sentimental ties, and how others perceive and label them. This chapter explores the nature of migrants' experiences with these issues in mind and illustrates this through the informants' life histories. It also analyzes the important social institutions that facilitate or inhibit the incorporation of outsiders into the community of Ambanja.

Keywords:   factionalism, migrants, Ambanja, insider, Sakalava, culture, ethnicity, institutions, outsiders

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