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妖術とうわさ

昨日のC大のゼミでは、ゆっくり1章ずつ読んできたWitchcraft, Sorcery, Rumors, and Gossip (Stewart & Strathern)がやっと終了。
お疲れ様でした。

2004年に出版されたこの本では、近年の妖術研究に関して、アフリカだけでなくヨーロッパの魔女狩りやインド、オセアニアまでも含めた広範なレヴューが行われている。
その上で、うわさやゴシップという補助線を引くことによる、妖術研究の方向性が示唆される。

2つのことを読了して考えてみた。

1つは著者たちの意図に付き合ってよんでみた場合。
妖術をうわさ・ゴシップという観点から見たとき、社会の変動過程を、公式・非公式のコミュニケーションおよびネットワーク論、あるいは情報論的な視座から明らかにするという展望が開けてくる。それは個人的には、はやり(?)の「妖術の近代」研究よりも汎用性の高いものだと思う。
でも、そのとき、妖術は単なる変数的なイディオムとして扱われてしまうため、地域間のイディオムの格差(たとえばインドの事例では妖術イディオムは使われていなかった)や、あるいはオカルト的なイディオムを使うことの意味などは見過ごされてしまうのではないだろうか。

もう1つ、筆者たちが意図していなかったであろうことを読み込む場合には、本書は妖術研究における、出来事を中心とした社会変動(葛藤)論から、出来事の形成過程に焦点を当てた社会過程の解釈論への転換だといえるかもしれない。
妖術研究には、妖術疑惑・告発・制裁というおける(アフリカ的?)固定概念があるように思われるのだが、うわさ・ゴシップという補助線を引くことで、疑惑の形成過程における葛藤、または告発・制裁へと到達しない妖術言説の流通へと僕たちは導かれていくことができる。
それは、もうすでに、そこにある事実としての妖術から、いま、まさに生起している過程としての妖術という解釈学的転換なのかもしれない。

そんなことを考えてみたのだが、いずれにしても、何人かでわりと手ごたえのある(しかも新しい)本をよんでいくことは、必要で面白い作業だと思った。
それに、終わったことでこれから夏に向けて、ひとつ毎週の「to do」が減るかと思うと気分が軽くなって仕方がない。

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