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Tricksters and Trancers Bushman Religion and Society cover
  • ISBN: 9780253213440
  • ISBN10: 0253213444

Tricksters and Trancers Bushman Religion and Society

by Mathias Guenther

  • List Price: $24.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Indiana Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/1999
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Description
Despite the voluminous material on Botswana's Bushman (the contentious ethnic label knowingly adopted by the author), this is an important contribution for a number of reasons. First, Guenther (Wilfrid Univ., Canada) provides an invaluable summary and commentary on the multilingual literature on these people. Second, and more important, the text takes up the topic of Bushman religion and cosmology, which, like its social organization, is fluid and varied. In discussing this relatively neglected concern, the author pays particular attention to the significance of the trickster, an ambiguous and disorderly creature from the beginning of time in indigenous thought, and the trance state, an important feature of Bushman ritual system. The value of Guenther's long-term fieldwork among a segment of these people is clearly demonstrated in his examination of these topics and in their relationship to gender issues. He concludes with a suggestion for anthropologists to pay greater heed to the relevance of ambiguity in Bushman society and cosmology but does not mention the theoretical work of Simmel in this context. Otherwise, this is a first-rate piece of scholarship. Upper-division undergraduates and above.W. Arens, SUNY at Stony Brook, 2000jul CHOICE.
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