THE BODY IN BWITI Variations on a Theme by Richard Werbner BY JAMES W. FERNANDEZ (University of Chicago, U.S.A.) Thematic Preoccupation In this paper I wish to return to materials already abundantly presented in BWITI (Fernandez: 1982), an ethnography of the religious imagination in Africa. I do so in the light of the critique' 1 of aspects of the ethnographic argument of that book by Richard Werbner. It has been just over ten years, January 1978, since I sub- mitted the ms. of that book to the publisher, and Werbner's cri- tique gives me an opportunity to reread fieldnotes and to rethink the interpretations then offered. The fieldnotes and the ethnography remain the same. But we don't step into the same stream of culture twice and Werbner's sophisticated and insightful critique of the ethnographic argument I advanced in the seventies, not only in BWITI (Fernandez: 1967-1977; 1977, 1979a, 1979b),' provides me with a valuable opportunity to reconsider that argu- ment in the light, necessarily, of the anthropology of the eighties. Probably as a reaction to the overly mentalistic view of human behavior and thought implicit in an earlier cognitive anthropology the anthropology of the eighties has become increasingly
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1990
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