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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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Sacred Knowledge and Local Power

Sacred Knowledge and Local Power

Tromba and the Sambirano Economy

(p.144) Chapter VI Sacred Knowledge and Local Power
The Possessed and the Dispossessed

Lesley A. Sharp

University of California Press

This chapter explores the manner in which Sakalava collectively views and interprets local power and, in turn, how they maintain their influence in the valley. The power of tera-tany hinges on their ability to resist capitalist relations and to undermine or manipulate the future development of the region by the state, in order to fully comprehend which process, it must be explored from a multitude of angles. First, social cohesiveness is an essential element: among the Sakalava this is defined through the ancestors, the concept of a shared historical past, and the occupation of a common territory, their tanin-drazana. For the Sakalava, like other Malagasy, these domains of time and space are sacred. Since these contexts are defined by the actions of royal ancestors, tromba spirits are an essential element of local custom and identity.

Keywords:   Sakalava, power, tera-tany, tanin-drazana, time, space, tromba, spirits, custom, identity

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