Next Article in Journal
Shelley’s Unknown Eros: Post-Secular Love in Epipsychidion
Previous Article in Journal
Miracles, Media, Mezuzot: Storytelling among Chabad Hasidim
Open AccessArticle

Divine Politicking: A Rhetorical Approach to Deity Possession in the Himalayas

Thompson Writing Program, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
Academic Editor: Tobias Winright
Religions 2016, 7(9), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7090117
Received: 14 June 2016 / Revised: 16 August 2016 / Accepted: 30 August 2016 / Published: 14 September 2016
In North India, political leaders are referred to as netās, and the term netāgirī is broadly and pejoratively used to describe the self-promotion, political maneuvering, and public rhetoric in which politicians engage. However, my ethnographic fieldwork in the state of Uttarakhand, India, shows that local divinities can also be netās: they vie for their constituents’ support, make decisions that materially impact people’s lives, and threaten to use force in implementing those decisions. These “political divinities” are routinely encountered as possessed dancers in large-scale public rituals in this region. In this article, I focus on how political divinities affect, and are affected by, audiences in tangible and far-reaching ways. I argue that public possession rituals open up a highly charged zone for inherently fluid, situational, and pragmatic negotiations between humans and divinities. While anthropological studies of possession view it as a sociopolitical event that trades in power relations, this article calls for a rhetorical approach to possession, which foregrounds possession as a way of persuading particular audiences of certain ways of thinking and acting in matters of collective importance. View Full-Text
Keywords: possession; ritual; Hinduism; politics; rhetoric; South Asia possession; ritual; Hinduism; politics; rhetoric; South Asia
MDPI and ACS Style

Jassal, A.S. Divine Politicking: A Rhetorical Approach to Deity Possession in the Himalayas. Religions 2016, 7, 117. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7090117

AMA Style

Jassal AS. Divine Politicking: A Rhetorical Approach to Deity Possession in the Himalayas. Religions. 2016; 7(9):117. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7090117

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jassal, Aftab S. 2016. "Divine Politicking: A Rhetorical Approach to Deity Possession in the Himalayas" Religions 7, no. 9: 117. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7090117

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop