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    Becoming Witches: Sight, Sin, and Social Change in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea

    Strong, Thomas (2017) Becoming Witches: Sight, Sin, and Social Change in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. In: Pentecostalism and Witchcraft. Contemporary Anthropology of Religion. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 67-92. ISBN 978-3-319-56067-0

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    In the Papua New Guinea highlands, kumo witches see inside persons (their victims) but conceal themselves from sight. Evangelical and Pentecostal sermons often focus on these dynamics of in/visibility: they may, for example, linger on ways in which Christian piety is evinced as a shine on the body that deflects the covetous and hungry gaze of witches. Members of these congregations are said to be covered by the blood of Christ, and only those who attend church will enjoy the protection that Christ’s grace affords. If witches exhibit supernatural powers of sight, they themselves are hard to see. The invisibility of witches makes possible a supernatural realm existing in parallel to everyday life, on its other “side,” endangering vitality and growth of people, and putting relationships at risk. Sermons elicit fears of this “curse” of witches, and offer a solution: the Pentecostal Christian congregation alone will redeem the community.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Keywords: Becoming Witches; Sight; Sin; Social Change; Eastern Highlands; Papua New Guinea; Pentecostalism; Witchcraft;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
    Item ID: 10034
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Dr. Thomas Strong
    Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2018 15:45
    Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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