From impregnation to attunment: a sensory view of how magic works

Novellino, Dario (2009) From impregnation to attunment: a sensory view of how magic works. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 15 (4). pp. 755-776. ISSN 1359-0987 (Print); 1467-9655 (Online). (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Anthropological theories of magic make several claims about the contagious transfer of attributes from object to object and object to person through ‘impregnation’, ‘absorption’, and ‘penetration’. This article argues that such notions, which emphasize violation of physical space and ontological boundaries, are often incongruent with emic perspectives. For the Batak of Palawan, ‘magical efficacy’ in rituals is achieved by attuning the properties of objects, powerful words, sounds, and gestures to other sensory qualities of the environment, in relation to a wider spatio-temporal dimension. Operating from these general premises, I introduce the analytical concept of tool-sign(s); these are vehicles of both cross-ontological communication and action on the material world. This notion sheds new light on long-standing debates about the look and logic of magic.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Social and Cultural Anthropology
Depositing User: Shelley Malekia
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2012 13:07
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2012 11:27
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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