Subversive Spiritualities: How Rituals Enact the World

Paperback | January 11, 2012

byFrederique Apffel-marglin

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Even in the twenty-first century some two-thirds of the world's peoples - the world's social majority - quietly live in non-modern, non-cosmopolitan places. In such places the multitudinous voices of the spirits, deities, and other denizens of the other-than-human world continue to be heard,continue to be loved or feared or both, continue to accompany the human beings in all their activities. In this book, Frederique Apffel-Marglin draws on a lifetime of work with the indigenous peoples of Peru and India to support her argument that the beliefs, values, and practices of suchtraditional peoples are 'eco-metaphysically true.' In other words, they recognize that human beings are in communion with other beings in nature that have agency and are kinds of spiritual intelligences, with whom humans can be in relationship and communion. Ritual is the medium for communicating, reciprocating, creating and working with the other-than-humans, who daily remind the humans that the world is not for humans' exclusive use. Apffel-Marglin argues moreover, that when such relationships are appropriately robust, human lifeways are rich,rewarding, and in the contemporary jargon, environmentally sustainable. Her ultimate objective is to 're-entangle' humans in nature - she is, in the final analysis, promoting a spirituality and ecology of belonging and connection to nature, and an appreciation of animistic perception andecologies. Along the way she offers provocative and poignant critiques of many assumptions, including of the 'development' paradigm as benign (including feminist forms of development advocacy), of the majority of anthropological and other social scientific understandings of indigenous religions, and ofcommon views about peasant and indigenous agronomy. She concludes with a case study of the fair trade movement, illuminating both its shortcomings (how it echoes some of the assumptions in the development paradigms) and its promise as a way to rekindle community between humans as well as betweenhumans and the other-than-human world.

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Even in the twenty-first century some two-thirds of the world's peoples - the world's social majority - quietly live in non-modern, non-cosmopolitan places. In such places the multitudinous voices of the spirits, deities, and other denizens of the other-than-human world continue to be heard,continue to be loved or feared or both, conti...

Frederique Apffel-Marglin is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Smith College.

other books by Frederique Apffel-marglin

Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.71 inPublished:January 11, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199793867

ISBN - 13:9780199793860

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Table of Contents

I: Introduction1. The Politics of ''Wilderness'': The Nature/Culture Dualism Revisit2. Economics and the Making of ''Natural Resources''3. Re-entangling the Material and the Discursive: Quantum Physics and Agential Realism4. The Spirit of the Gift in the Peruvian Andes: Yarqa Aspiy in Quispillacta5. Supersessionism and the Teaching of Agronomy in Peru6. Dancing with the Mountain in the Altiplano: The Festival of the Ispallas7. The State and Feminist Missionizing in Bolivia (with Loyda Sanchez)8. Beyond Absolute Time and Space: From Representation to Performativity in Rituals9. Fair Trade and the Possibility of Biocultural RegenerationEpilogue: Performing the Lessons LearnedAppendixBibliography