The Peace-Seeking Body in East African Pastoral Society

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: 304
Oral Presentation
Itsuhiro HAZAMA , Nagasaki University, Japan
When approaching anthropologically to emergence of the new disease in the way that goes beyond a dichotomy between nature and culture, the phenomenological body, which enables to attach significance to experience, is often assumed. While its silent power of representation can be explicated, the social and political power is removed from consideration. To illuminate the bodily power in toto, the paper describes the process of embodiment of political violence with reference to local medicine and the subsistence activity for healing patients. The Karimojong, Dodoth and Jie in northeastern Uganda and the Turkana in northwestern Kenya live in the dry savanna, keeping cattle, goats and sheep. Their living setting, the Uganda-Kenya international boundary, is trans-local-national multi-layered space, where armed violent conflict has occurred endlessly in the wake of the spread of automatic rifles and forcible pacification. Political violence separates herders' bodies as grounds of cultural existence from particular place and time and creates new classification, and then each body becomes the antagonistic referent. Since 2000s' disarmament policy in the area, the epidemic chronic disease (called as ngikerep) has been generalized. It has variety of symptoms that represent headache, nausea, nightmare, insensitivity to pain, confusional state and people like returned soldiers, killers, and survivors suffer from it. Its cause is identified based on symptoms and life story narrated by the patient and family. Methods of treatment comprise of music and kinetic therapy, dialogue with a healer, and looking after the pastoral animal herd. To cope with ngikerep is to unlearn the culture of violence. People think peace only can heal the disease, and so it may relate to the peace-seeking body which underlies medium- to long-term peace-building.