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Witchcraft and the reproduction of wealth in southern Zambia.

Kindness, Leonie (1997) Witchcraft and the reproduction of wealth in southern Zambia. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Well, there are some stories of what you must do to become wealthy. You will go to the witch, who will point out a tree to you. 'Behind that tree is a special cow, you must milk that cow, and then you can become wealthy.' When you go behind that tree, what do you find there but a lioness. If you are brave enough to take the milk from the lioness, and then cook it and eat it with porridge then you will be very rich. This quote, an extract from my field notes, describes one of the many techniques to become wealthy through witchcraft which are explored in this thesis. This thesis examines witchcraft in a small town in Southern Zambia, in the last decade of the Twentieth Century. In particular it focuses on witchcraft for the creation of wealth. Although witchcraft for wealth seems to be an old tradition, it remains largely unexamined in academic work. In chapter one the town of Monze is introduced and some methodological issues are discussed. In chapter two there is a discussion of witches in the modern era, what witches do and who they are. The use of witchcraft for the creation of wealth is introduced at this point, in the three areas of crops, cows and businesses. The point is made that much wealth creation involves the linking of production and reproduction. In other words, for excess production to occur, the witches must tamper with the processes of reproduction. Thus much witchcraft for wealth involves stealing foetuses, making women barren and other similar attacks on fertility. Chapters three, four and five, therefore, deal with an exploration of the processes of reproduction. Chapter three examines the reproduction of spirits and names, while chapters four and five discuss reproduction of the body. We examine body substances, and the reproduction and exchange of substance through sex, conception, pregnancy and birth. In chapters six, seven, and eight these insights into the reproductive processes are used to explain witchcraft for wealth; in maize production, cattle production, and modern business enterprises. Chapter nine is the conclusion. In these chapters the contribution of my material to various theoretical debates on witchcraft, gender, the body and analysis of substance is discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anthropology, Cultural, Folklore, Sub Saharan Africa Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Anthropology

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