SELF-FULFILLING WORDS AND TOPICS NOT TO BE TOUCHED UPON

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Tuija Hovi University of Turku tuija.h.hovi@utu.fi

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Uttering certain words with certain intention is understood as having performative power to produce desired outcomes in social life. However, a deliberate silence as well as words spoken out loud can function as an objectification of reality. With the help of Gregory Bateson’s concept of noncommunication, silences are approached in personal narratives in the Word of Life congregation. Whereas explicit communication would alter the nature of ideas, noncommunication works by “keeping up sacredness”, the unchangeable or untouchable. For believers, avoiding particular topics is an attempt to control the surrounding world and strengthen the feeling of safety and success in the spiritual as well as material life. The article studies four aspects of Neo-charismatic rhetoric as noncommunication: avoided topics, confirming, protection and meta-speech.

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