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Smoking as Communication in Rastafari: Reasonings with 'Professional" Smokers and 'Plant Teachers'

Waldstein, Anna (2020) Smoking as Communication in Rastafari: Reasonings with 'Professional" Smokers and 'Plant Teachers'. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, 85 (5). pp. 900-919. ISSN 0014-1844. E-ISSN 1469-588X. (doi:10.1080/00141844.2019.1627385) (KAR id:74404)

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https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2019.1627385

Abstract

In Rastafari smoking herbs (cannabis) and tobacco is central to spiritual practices, including grounding (the process of initiation into Rastafari) and reasoning (ritual discussions). This paper presents ethnographic research with Rastafari smokers in England. It shows that smoking is considered a ‘professional’ activity that communicates dedication to the movement, aids in learning different dialects, and facilitates experiences of communication with herbs ‘herself’. Through rituals that ‘professional’ smokers engage in herbs becomes a ‘plant teacher’, which Tupper [2008. The Globalization of Ayahuasca: Harm Reduction or Benefit Maximization? International Journal of Drug Policy, 19:300] defines as ‘a natural divinatory mechanism that can provide esoteric knowledge to adepts skilled in negotiating its remarkable effects’. Appreciation of smoking as a form of multispecies communication between ‘professional’ smokers and ‘plant teachers’ recasts the role of agency in anthropological studies of smoking and contributes to our understanding of consciousness and intentionality in both humans and plants.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/00141844.2019.1627385
Uncontrolled keywords: Multispecies ethnography; ethnobotany; cannabis; agency; consciousness
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Anna Waldstein
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 14:31 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:05 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/74404 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Waldstein, Anna: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6384-5770
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