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Words of the Ancestors: Disembodied Knowledge and Secrecy in East Timor

Bovensiepen, Judith M. (2014) Words of the Ancestors: Disembodied Knowledge and Secrecy in East Timor. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 20 (1). pp. 56-73. E-ISSN 1467-9655. (doi:10.1111/1467-9655.12079) (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)

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. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.12079

Abstract

By examining processes of revealing and concealing ancestral ‘words’, this article analyses the connection between East Timorese knowledge practices and status competition. The point of departure is a tension between the assertion by eminent ritual speakers in the Idaté-speaking village of Funar of the need to discover the most truthful ‘trunk’ knowledge, and the simultaneous and continual concealment of what this ‘trunk’ may consist of. The article explores the discursive practices that sustain the notion that knowledge exists as an immutable essence outside of history, and the difficulty of maintaining this notion given dramatic historical events in East Timor in recent decades. Whereas secrecy and concealment are key strategies of dealing with unrelenting contestations over the ownership and content of ‘trunk’ words, a ritual speaker's attempt to deny the interrelational aspect of knowledge is undermined by the need for others to recognize him as its rightful guardian.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1467-9655.12079
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Judith Bovensiepen
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2014 17:37 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:10 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/43359 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Bovensiepen, Judith M.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6092-7874
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