Shamanic knowledge is based on an ambiguous commensality with invisible others. As a result, shamans oscillate constantly between spheres of intimacy, both visible and invisible. A place of power and transformation, the spirit world is rarely described by native interlocutors in an objective, detached way; rather, they depict it in terms of events and experiences. Instead of examining the formal qualities of accounts of the spirit world through analyses of ritual performance and shamanic quests, we focus on life histories as autobiographical accounts in order to explore what they reveal about the relationship between personal history (and indigenous historicity) and the spirit world. We introduce the term ‘double reflexivity’ to refer to processes by which narratives about the self are produced through relationships with alterity.
Autobiography, Kinship, and Alterity in Native Amazonia
Vanessa Elisa Grotti and Marc Brightman
Triggering Critical Reflexive Stances on Ritual Action in Togo
of a problem affecting the entire lineage. If the chicken dies on its belly, the celebrants become worried and perplexed. The rite will be suspended while participants start to wonder about the meaning of this disapproval. Thereupon a double reflexive