Chapter 14. Moved by God

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We review the history of the anthropological study of “body memory” and argue that it was developed in a fruitful way only with the advent of practice theory and performance studies, which focused on embodied meanings in addition to purely linguistic ones. We provide two case studies of embodied memory. In the first, collective memories of oppression and exploitation are activated by the recitation of particular stories, sometimes resulting in mass possession. In the second, practices associated with the periodic processions of a Western Himalayan deity are shown to be based on local forms of embodied memory.


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