Culture, Mind, and Society

Possessing Spirits and Healing Selves

Embodiment and Transformation in an Afro-Brazilian Religion

Authors: Seligman, R.

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About this book

Spirit possession involves the displacement of a human's conscious self by a powerful other who temporarily occupies the human's body. Here, Seligman shows that spirit possession represents a site for understanding fundamental aspects of human experience, especially those involved with interactions among meaning, embodiment, and subjectivity.

About the authors

Rebecca Seligman is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University, USA.

Reviews

“This book offers a way to address some of the unique questions about spirit possession trance religions. Seligman offers a clear and detailed description of her innovative methodology in a special appendix which should be of interest to ethnographers in a variety of fields. I highly recommend this book to anthropologists and social scientists generally.” (Patricia Barker Lerch, Nova Religion, Vol. 20 (2), 2016) 


"Spirit possession continues to be a vital aspect of religious experience and healing practices in many traditions. In this compelling ethnographic account of Candomblé in Brazil, Rebecca Seligman explores the transformations of subjectivity, self and identity central to becoming a spirit medium. Through the concept of "biolooping", she brings culture and biology into dialogue to show how knowledge, body practices, and cultural scripts work together to create new versions of selfhood and forms of moral life with healing potential. Anyone seeking deeper understanding and an integrative view of the meanings and functions of dissociative experience in religion and healing will find this work richly rewarding." - Laurence J. Kirmayer, James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University, Canada

"The question of why spiritual practice is associated with better health is one of the most important puzzles in the study of religion. Possessing Spirits and Healing Selves offers a fascinating solution. Rebecca Seligman demonstrates that religious experts have better cardiac autonomic regulation than non-experts. That association has been observed before, but never explained, and never linked to the patterns of self-transformation she is able to detail. Thus, the book is great for teaching and a research gem." - T. M. Luhrmann, author of When God Talks Back

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Introduction: Stepping into the “Supernatural World” of Candomblé

    Seligman, Rebecca

    Pages 1-45

  • Reflections on the Challenges and Rewards of Integrative Research

    Seligman, Rebecca

    Pages 47-66

  • Sometimes Affliction Is the Door: Healing and Transformation in Narratives of Mediumship

    Seligman, Rebecca

    Pages 67-109

  • Looking Inside: Biological Mechanisms and Embodiment in Candomblé Trance and Possession

    Seligman, Rebecca

    Pages 111-134

  • Healing the Embodied Self in Candomblé

    Seligman, Rebecca

    Pages 135-157

Buy this book

eBook £14.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-40960-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £63.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-40959-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover £19.15
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-48875-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Possessing Spirits and Healing Selves
Book Subtitle
Embodiment and Transformation in an Afro-Brazilian Religion
Authors
Series Title
Culture, Mind, and Society
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
Rebecca Seligman
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-40960-7
DOI
10.1057/9781137409607
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-40959-1
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-48875-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIV, 209
Topics