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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

Spirit Mediumship and Social Identity

Spirit Mediumship and Social Identity

(p.171) Chapter VII Spirit Mediumship and Social Identity
The Possessed and the Dispossessed

Lesley A. Sharp

University of California Press

Since tromba is a vital aspect of Sakalava culture, participation in tromba possession confirms tera-tany status. Strictly speaking, tera-tany and Sakalava are synonymous, yet the recent participation of migrants in tromba possession necessitates a looser definition. This chapter shows that participation in tromba may alter a woman's life in profound ways. First, as a medium, she may experience shifts in her identity, a process that is facilitated by a special form of fictive kinship which has especially profound ramifications for non-Sakalava. In turn, a shift in her social relations occurs, affecting those who know her in the privacy of her home, as well as the public sphere, where she strengthens her personal networks with other mediums and, if she works as a healer, with clients. In essence, tromba enables a medium to redefine a woman's social status and provide her with access to local power structures.

Keywords:   spirit mediumship, tromba, Sakalava, tera-tany, fictive kinship, social relations, power structures

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