Expansion

Mary Douglas suggests that the social preconditions for active witchcraft are: ‘ social units whose external boundaries are clearly marked, whose internal relations are confused, and which persist on a small scale’. The confusion arises over matters of power and Authority because the rights to power are ill defined. Accusations of witchcraft identify hidden rivals for power and thereby serve to clarify the situation.

Still not read the rest of Peter J. Wilson’s argument. I can’t make sense of it although it has made me think about model free systems.

I have no particular axe to grind in relation to accepting or rejecting Mary Douglas’s thesis.

I have a number of reasons for being confused by the article.

Running around model free hovering up details from the ground that are not particularly related to each other but all come under the general heading of witchcraft.

 From the Large To The Small (The Need To Know)

One of the questions is what is the difference between a human a hedgehog and a fish?

Generally I think of the boundaries between these things as clearly marked. In cases of witchcraft  things get rather confusing.

Hedgehogs fish and humans all posses some form of power (as of yet undefined) that allows them to engage in the theft of milk.

In cases of this sort to uncover the perpetrator of the crime requires knowledge and expertise. Authority is going to rest on overcoming this confusion.

Was it a hedgehog was it a witch or a witch assuming the form and possessing this characteristic feeding habit of  hedgehog’s?

These are matters of good judgment or common sense. Level of expertise required a part of everyday decision.

 

Models and Algorithms

Mary Douglas’s model does not exactly fit but its flexible enough that a can run and twist it.

Arrive at a question I would not have asked. See what happens.

Google search term

theft as a form of power and authority

Google Answer

Tackling Electricity Theft- The Way Forward

Electricity Theft: A Comparative Example

Type and Nature of Electricity theft

Disciplining de facto development: water theft and hydrosocial order in Tijuana

20 minutes in Tijuana it would seem.  Building models on top of models (this one follows Foucault).

Contraction next.

reference

Peter J. Wilson, The Outcast and the Prisoner: Models for Witchcraft and Schizophrenia, Man, Vol 13, No. 1 (Mar.’ 1978)

 

 

 

Cut and Paste (V= Vx?)

Model Free Environment

We’re going to finally find out if you drop you’re robot or agent into some unknown environment and you don’t tell it anything about how that environment works, how can it figure out the right thing to do?

 

Mary Douglas suggests that the social preconditions for active witchcraft are: ‘ social units whose external boundaries are clearly marked, whose internal relations are confused, and which persist on a small scale’. The confusion arises over matters of power and Authority because the rights to power are ill defined. Accusations of witchcraft identify hidden rivals for power and thereby serve to clarify the situation.

This model does not explain witchcraft in the most famous of all cases, the Azande. As Evans- Pritchard described them, the Azande have loose external boundaries for their kingdoms were always expanding and contracting, with very clearly defined internal relations- they were virtually a feudal, caste system.

 

Reading Nothing

Mary Douglas suggests that the social preconditions for active witchcraft are: ‘ social units whose external boundaries are clearly marked, whose internal relations are confused, and which persist on a small scale’. The confusion arises over matters of power and Authority because the rights to power are ill defined. Accusations of witchcraft identify hidden rivals for power and thereby serve to clarify the situation.

This model does not explain witchcraft in the most famous of all cases, the Azande. As Evans- Pritchard described them, the Azande have loose external boundaries for their kingdoms were always expanding and contracting, with very clearly defined internal relations- they were virtually a feudal, caste system.

I stopped reading at this point.

Not familiar with the Azande.

Not familiar with Mary Douglas’s argument here nor  Peter J. Wilson’s counter.

At ‘loose external boundaries’ I start to ask questions and when I reach ‘  their kingdoms were always expanding and contracting’

One of the few things I think I know about the Azande from Evans Pritchard is that the internal boundaries of family settlements were very clearly defined.

Peter J. Wilson seems to be suggesting historical detail is the answer, while taking a somewhat eagle eyed yet distant perspective.

 

their kingdoms were always expanding and contracting, with very clearly defined internal relations

I would have both expansion and contraction marked as both potential sites of stress and of a change internal social relations.

It would be good to be wrong and find something new, conversely Mary Douglas’s model looks interesting.

I notice when crudely trying to work through the issue I seem drawn to some form of primitive self- drawn version of social identity theory.

As its drawn from psychology its original focus and test subject will almost certainly be European in origin.

Three birds, one stone, nothing to loose.

In the first instance what do the Azande look like when you move from the large to the small?

Reference

Peter J. Wilson, The Outcast and the Prisoner: Models for Witchcraft and Schizophrenia, Man, Vol 13, No. 1 (Mar.’ 1978)

 

 

 

Confusion Arising Over Matters of Power and Authority

I think I identify a basic question I need to answer.

What would a descriptive definition of Power look like?

Or am I looking at one playing out in popular culture?

Descriptions and focus on the witch finder Mathew Hopkins, as responsible in full for the witch panic in Essex gives life to a concept of social relationships?

The power of one person to make others do as he desires.

The basic organizational frame, ‘the mobilization of bias.’

Countless in number, easily reducible to individual terms.

The magical formula, in one person many people.

 

State of Being Confined (Confusion Arising Over Matters of Power and Authority)

Selenguri in Kakopathar block remained on the edge for the second day today with hundreds of residents laying siege to National Highway 52 for about four hours near Doomdooma in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district, seeking “custody” of the three women whom police had rescued yesterday.

The women, who were tortured by villagers of No. I Selenguri through Thursday night on suspicion of practising witchcraft, have been handed over to their relatives and are under protective surveillance, the police said.

The village under Koomsang tea estate is located along NH 52, nearly 4km west of Kakopathar police station, 13km from Doomdooma and 41km from Tinsukia, the district headquarters.

The police had to resort to a baton charge to disperse the agitated mob of tea garden workers who blocked NH 52 following news of the death of Suraj Gowala, son of tea garden workers Rakesh and Anita Gowala and a student of Class IV, at 11 this morning. The ailing boy had been admitted to Assam Medical College and Hospital in Dibrugarh last evening.

Trouble had started after an ojha (quack) allegedly pointed out that the three women from the garden were practising witchcraft, as a result of which the boy’s health was deteriorating. Rubbishing the witchcraft allegation, an AMCH doctor said Suraj had died of an irreversible liver ailment and had been brought in too late for treatment.

The blockade started after news of Suraj’s death spread.

The officer-in-charge of Kakopathar police station, Dipjyoti Dadhara, said the protesters were armed with sticks and spears. They were demanding that the women, Mala Bhumij, 50, Ratni Kanda, 50, and Gandi Urang, 60, be handed over to them so that they could get rid of them by setting them ablaze to prevent them from harming anyone else in future…….. The blockades and protests have once again raised questions about why such incidents take place among garden workers.

Reference

M.K. Ojha, S. Bahattachrya, Villagers Bay for trio’s blood- Police put women accused of witchcraft under protective surveillance, Telegraph, 26. Oct. 2014