On the Articulation of Witchcraft and Modes of Production Among the Nupe, Northern Nigeria

WITCHES, WITCH-HUNTS AND MAGICAL IMAGINARIES IN MODERN AFRICA, Burghart Schmidt, Rolf Schulte, eds., Verlag Dokumentation & Buch (DOBU), pp. 63-94, 2007

38 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2008

See all articles by Dirk Kohnert

Dirk Kohnert

GIGA - Hamburg, Institute of African Affairs

Abstract

The political economy of occult belief in Africa can highlight hidden social and political conflict in times of transition which remain otherwise undetected. This has been demonstrated in taking the development of witchcraft accusations over time as indicator, and the Nupe of Northern Nigeria as an example. A tentative long-term study on the growth of the Nupe state since pre-colonial times points towards a close relationship between the content and form of witchcraft accusations and the mode of production under which the stakeholders used to life and work. Over time, witchcraft accusations among the Nupe apparently served different, even antagonistic ends, depending on the mode of production in which they were embedded. Much confusion in literature on the apparent contradiction between 'emancipating' and 'oppressive' functions of witchcraft beliefs could be avoided by considering this articulation between modes of production, witchcraft accusations, and the underlying vested interests of the ruling powers.

Keywords: modes of production, informal politics, social conflicts, occult belief

JEL Classification: Z1, Z12

Suggested Citation

Kohnert, Dirk, On the Articulation of Witchcraft and Modes of Production Among the Nupe, Northern Nigeria. WITCHES, WITCH-HUNTS AND MAGICAL IMAGINARIES IN MODERN AFRICA, Burghart Schmidt, Rolf Schulte, eds., Verlag Dokumentation & Buch (DOBU), pp. 63-94, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1085303

Dirk Kohnert (Contact Author)

GIGA - Hamburg, Institute of African Affairs ( email )

German Inst. of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
D-20354 Hamburg
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://dirk2011.jimdo.com/

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