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7. The Experience of Seeing: Spirit Possession as Performance

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1. Title Title of document 7. The Experience of Seeing: Spirit Possession as Performance - Religion and Sight
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Bettina Schmidt; University of Wales Trinity St David; United Kingdom
3. Subject Discipline(s) Religious Studies
4. Subject Keyword(s) possession ritual in Brazil; spirit possession; Afro-Brazilian religious communities; São Paulo; sensory experience;
5. Subject Subject classification religion and the body
6. Description Abstract Possession rituals are breath taking performances with colourful costumes, ecstatic dance movements and music that entice to join. They are efficacious, for the community, the medium and the possessing agent. For the observing researcher the aesthetic, performative approach offers a way to incorporate what we see, hear, smell, taste and touch, even what we feel.

This chapter is based on ethnographic research conducted in African derived religious communities in New York and São Paulo. It presents excerpts from the field diary with first-hand impressions of the rituals and reflects on the impact the participation had on the researcher. Focusing on the body of the mediums and the perception of the researcher, and how the body of the mediums seems to change, the chapter argues that the sight of the researcher can be used as a methodological bridge to overcome the boundary between scholars explaining experiences and people living them.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 01-Jul-2020
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.35752
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Religion and Sight
16. Language English=en en
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.)
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd