Body and affect in the intercultural encounter

TitleBody and affect in the intercultural encounter
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsR. Devisch
Pagination - 308
Date Published2017///
PublisherAfrican Studies Centre & Langaa Publishers
Place PublishedLeiden [etc.]
Publication Languageeng
ISSN Number978-9956-764-01-3
Keywordsbody, culture contact, Democratic Republic of Congo Yaka (Angola,Democratic Republic of Congo), Eïla,Jean-Marc,1936-2008, folk medicine, health care, missions

The volume draws from René Devisch's encounters with groups in southsaharan Africa, primarily. The author had the privilege to immerse himself, around the clock, in the Yakaphones' activities and thoughts in southwest DR Congo from 1972 to 1974, and intermittently in Kinshasa's shanty towns, from 1986 to 2003. The author first examines what sparked his choice to come to Congo, and then to pursue research among the Yakaphones in the borderland with Angola. He then invites us to follow the trajectory of his plural anthropological view on today's multicentric world. It leads us to his praise for honorary doctor Jean-Marc Ela's work. He then examines the proletarian outbursts of violence that rocked Congo's major cities in 1991 and 1993. These can be read as a settling of scores with the disillusioning colonial and missionary modernisation, along with president Mobutu's millenarian Popular Movement of the Revolution. Furthermore, after considering the morose reduction of a major Yaka dancing mask into a mere museum-bound curio in Antwerp, the book unravels the Yakaphones' perspectives on spirits and sorcery's threat. It also analyses their commitment to classical Bantu-African healing cults, along with their parallel consulting physicians and healers. By sharing the Yakaphones' life-world, the analysis highlights their body-group-world weave, interlaced by the principle of co-resonance. A phenomenological and perspectivist look unfolds the local actors' views, thereby disclosing the Bantu-African genius and setting for a major reversal of perspectives. Indeed, seeing 'here' from 'there' allows the author to uncover some alienating dynamics at work in his native Belgian Flemish-speaking culture. To better grasp the realm of life beyond the speakable and factual reasoning, the approach occasionally turns to the later Lacan's focus on the unconscious desire, the body and its affects. The book addresses students and researchers in the humanities and, more broadly, all those immersed in the heat of the encounter with the culturally different.

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Citation Key9438