Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol 47, No 1 (2018)

From Protestant Temple to Ancestral Ox Park: Ostentatious Travels and Practices of the Malagasy Protestant Movement Exorcists

Olivia Legrip-Randriambelo


This article proposes to question the movements and the practices of groups of lay exorcists (mpiandry) of the Malagasy Protestant movement of Revival (fifohazana). These groups of a decade of exorcists dressed in white pastoral robes walk through urban neighborhoodsn from the treatment and prayer rooms located in the reception centers of the movement, and the hamlets or rural villages, to the patient's home to take care of. The performance of exorcists fits not only outside the institutional space, but also outside of temporality usually reserved for hunting demons. At the time of exorcism and the burning of magical-religious protection charms, religious takes center stage, and the residential area of the patient's family is temporaly infiltrate by mpiandry. Therefore, the emotions engendered take a more complex dimension that support or rejection of exorcists practices. Exorcists move and surround the hamlet, and religious interferes in the houses of the ancestral village, the court, cultivated land and the ox park (family representations of the Betsileo region and also the economic resources). The neighborhood (sometimes distant) approaches. The exorcists are moving away from their reasons for coming (the illness of a family member) to impose practices on religious territory of ancestor worship. Through this ethnographic case, we will seize religious events in the public space, and the confrontation of secular Protestantism practiced outside institution and ancestor worship. Lutheran Protestantism then come into the ancestral religious territoriality, to its deterritorialization.

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DOI: 10.1558/bsor.33591


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