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8981 - The ethnography of shamanims in movement: a methodological and ethical consideration

How is it possible to adapt ethnographic method to the study of contemporary shamanic movements? How is the ethnographer supposed to move along different networks of representations and ritual action, of users and sympathizers, of apprentices and experts? Which methodology would be adequate to apprehend the key characters of such networks and to elucidate their modalities of action, the building up of their reputation and of their legitimacy? And within these contemporary shamanic realities, how could we analyze and understand the way in which shamanic discourse and practice is capable of circulating as much throughout numerous international networks as within small and localized residential groups? Furthermore, how should the ethnographer apprehend the cultic milieus - which are often longing for recognition and legitimacy from the academic domain – and how should he keep the right distance in order to produce a study which is likely to be independent from the multiples legitimacy and power interests which characterize the contemporary international shamanic milieu itself? By exploring diverse ethnographic situations encountered in the past six years of field research in several countries of both Europe and South America, the possibilities and difficulties of multi-sited fieldwork will be questioned together with the emergence and the circulation of new ritual experts, new ritual practices and discourse. The ethnography presented during the panel will also be used to highlight the intellectual and practical pitfalls which are proper to this type of anthropological research.

Keywords: International shamanic networks, circulation of shamanic discourse and practice between Europe and South America

Author: MESTURINI, Silvia (l, Lao / Lao)

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