The Hammer and the Flute - Women, Power, and Spirit Possession
2005 | pages: 300 | ISBN: 0801881889 | PDF | 3,8 mb
Feminist theory and postcolonial theory share an interest in developing theoretical frameworks for describing and evaluating subjectivity comparatively, especially with regard to non-autonomous models of agency. As a historian of religions, Mary Keller uses the figure of the "possessed woman" to analyze a subject that is spoken-through rather than speaking and whose will is the will of the ancestor, deity or spirit that wields her to engage the question of agency in a culturally and historically comparative study that recognizes the prominent role possessed women play in their respective traditions.
Drawing from the fields of anthropology and comparative psychology, Keller brings the figure of the possessed woman into the heart of contemporary argument as an exemplary model that challenges many Western and feminist assumptions regarding agency. Proposing a new theoretical framework that re-orients scholarship, Keller argues that the subject who is wielded or played, the hammer or the flute, exercises a paradoxical authority-"instrumental agency"-born of their radical receptivity: their power derives from the communities assessment that they no longer exist as autonomous agents.