Author(s): George KM
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Abstract Most headhunting traditions in island Southeast Asia link ritual violence to grief and mourning. Some of the more persuasive analyses of these practices pivot on notions of rage and catharsis, arguing that turbulent emotions motivate persons to take up cleansing acts of violence. This paper seeks a more complex understanding of how ritual may connect bereavement and violence through a look at case materials from highland Sulawesi (Indonesia). Ritual practices there suggest that the resolution of communal mourning is more significant than personal catharsis in motivating violence; that individual affect is refigured collectively as "political affect;" and that varied discursive forms, such as vows, songs, and noise mediate the ways in which people put grief behind them and resume their lives. Indeed, such discursive forms appear to be generative sites for violence and solace.
This article was published in Cult Med Psychiatry
and referenced in Journal of Socialomics