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Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing
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on June 4, 2012
Generally expressions of shamanism are associated with the lower classes of society who may be subject to great systematic oppression. This reality is exemplified in Michael Taussig's description of the colonization and slavery the Colombians.

Taussig speaks of wildness as a "death space of signification", which implies that rather than expressing subservience to the will of the colonial powers, shamans eliminate meaning as they turn away from civilization.

The "death spaces of signification" - the consequences of a culture of oppression - are a means of negation of the oppression though accepting death.

There are strong conceptual associations with the work of Dambudzo Marechera, especially his shamanistic outlook in Black Sunlight (Penguin Classics).

One also notes that Georges Bataille's writing, for instance in Unfinished System Of Nonknowledge upholds the value of seeking within a different mode of signification that has the appearance of being "nothing".

Whereas death or "nothing" may seem to be the object of shamanistic seeking, one is advised to look much more deeply.
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on January 27, 2014
intense but well worth the read. I heard Terrence Mckenna recommend it and It has put a lot of perspective in good light. Namaste
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on May 9, 2013
I chugged through bulk of it, I'm not an anthropologist....Reading it with some other anthropology books that friends have suggested might fill a large void in my education.
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on January 28, 1998
Arguably one of the most accomplished anthropologists working today, Michael Taussig provides an intensely individualistic bricolage of literary, historical, and ethnological interpretations of his many years of fieldwork in the Upper Amazon. One of the most detailed and poignant accounts of shamanism in its cultural context - will very soon be regarded as a classic.
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on February 23, 2006
Michael Taussig takes a stance towards "terrorism" not common in today's world. By trying to trace the roots of this phenomenon, he brings to light many explanations and understandings many of us fail to realize, only because we have not come across them before. I give this book four stars instead of five simply because it is a difficult read, but if you are interested in what we, today, call "terrorism" and are willing to take the time to plunge into this book, then it will certainly be worth your while.
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