Accepted Papers:

Objects, bodies and gods: analysis of an ontological process in the Xangô Cult in Recife (Brazil)  

Author:

Arnaud Halloy (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis)

Paper Short Abstract:

Drawing on my ethnography of the Xangô Cult in Recife (Brazil), I set out a cognitive and pragmatic theoretical framework for understanding why and how some objects become intimate and powerful mediators between worshippers and their deities.

Paper long abstract:

Drawing on my ethnography of the Xangô Cult in Recife (Brazil), I set out a theoretical framework for understanding why and how some objects become intimate and powerful mediators between worshippers and their deities. What I suggest is that some objects (stones, iron pieces, necklaces) acquire such a power by enhancing mythological imagination, hijacking ordinary expectations and eliciting intense emotional responses during their ritual manipulations. My best candidates to the "why" question are some cognitive processes involved in cultual objects' conceptualization - characterized by "ontological" twists (the cognitive hypothesis). The answer to the "how" question would lay in the form of the body/objects treatments (the pragmatic hypothesis).

panel P01
Thinking, acting and knowing through religious 'things': artefacts in the making of cosmology