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Catastrophe: magic and history in rural Madagascar

Graeber, David (2004) Catastrophe: magic and history in rural Madagascar. Campos - Revista de Antropologia Social, 5 (1). pp. 9-30. ISSN 1519-5538

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The essay recounts the beginning of my fieldwork in a Malagasy rural community an hours drive from the capital of Antananarivo in 1990. The community itself was, at the time I arrived, locked in a kind of intense symbolic warfare between andriana descended from what might be called a noble clan and mainty, the descendants of their former slaves. The struggle took on all the more significance when I came to understand that the Malagasy state had, for most intents and purposes, effectively withdrawn from such rural communities, but that members of those communities were engaged in a subtle game of appropriation of the representatives of what was seen as a predatory and coercive state power so as to fend it off, a habit that made the fact that rural communities were now effectively self-governing very difficult to perceive.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2004 Universidade Federal do Paraná
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2013 11:21
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2021 23:11

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