EN HOMENAJE A EDITH TURNER

Edith Turner 2

Un pequeño fragmento en honor a esta antropóloga valiente y sensible:

“What spirit events took place in my own experience? One of them happened like this. In 1985, I was due for a visit to Zambia. Before going, I made up my mind to come closer than on previous occasions to the Africans’ own experience, whatever that was – I did not know what they actually experienced. So it eventuated, I did come closer. My research was developing into the study of a twice-repeated healing ritual. To my surprise, the healing of the second patient culminated in my sighting a spirit form. In a book entitled Experiencing Ritual (1992), I describe exactly how this curative ritual reached its climax, including how I myself was involved in it; how the traditional doctor bent down amid the singing and drumming to extract the harmful spirit; and how I saw with my own eyes a large gray blob of something like plasma emerge from the sick woman’s back. Then I knew the Africans were right. There is spirit stuff, There is spirit affliction: it isn’t a matter of metaphor and symbol, or even psychology. And I began to see how anthropologists have perpetuated an endless series of put-downs about the many spirit events in which they participated – ‘participated’ in a kindly pretense. They might have obtained valuable material, but they have been operating with the wrong paradigm, that of the positivists’s denial.

To reach a peak experience in a ritual, it really is necessary to sink oneself fully in it. Thus for me, ‘going native’ achieved a breakthrough to an altogether different worldview, foreign to academia, by means of which certain material was chronicled that could have been gathered in no other way.

On the subject of radical participation, Dan Rose in Living the Ethnographic Life (1990), predicted that (…)”

Turner, Edith (1992): “The Reality of Spirits”, en Harvey, Graham (Ed.) (2003): Shamanism: A Reader, London: Routledge, p.146 (cursiva en el original, negrita añadida).

Santiago López-Pavillard

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