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Many opposing theories have been elaborated by different anthropologists in an attempt to explain the nature of symbolism. In this work Nigel Barley uses a particular ethnographic case to examine the relevance and limitations of these existing theories and to develop a new alternative approach which draws on areas of linguistics and folkloristics at one time neglected by symbolic theorists. The book is a detailed study of the symbolic universe of the Dowayos of north Cameroon, as displayed in their ritual and beliefs. Considering matters as diverse as their oral literature, their material culture and their festivals, Dr Barley's analysis develops by unfolding sequentially a map of the symbolic structures that underlie Dowayo culture and shape their apperception of the world about them. This book will be particularly useful for students. It will also interest all anthropologists concerned with the study of symbolism and with the application to anthropology of models derived from linguistics and folklore.
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- Date Published: March 2009
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521105347
- length: 136 pages
- dimensions: 216 x 140 x 8 mm
- weight: 0.18kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The ethnographic background
2. Symbolism and the punctuation of culture
3. Some problems of the representational model of symbolism
4. The leopard cannot change his spots
5. Water and fertility
6. Tarniisnohgbarklele: 'the place where the old Fulani woman was beaten to death'
7. 'It is only thanks to me that you were circumcised'
8. The seasons of the year and the joker in the pack: relations of nesting and quotation
Appendix: The festivals
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