The Sources of Authority for Shamanic Speech: Examples from the Kham-Magar of Nepal


This article tries to identify the sources of authority that allow the ritual specialists of the Kham-Magar community to act as its spokespersons with invisible partners and say the truth. The author partly challenges Bourdieu’s vision that ritual techniques such as ritual language are mainly techniques of domination. She explores, rather, the truth conditions of shamanic speech and the pragmatic effects of the ritual use of language, including a complex definition of the performer.



Fig. 1. A Kham-Magar shaman in full gear. April 2006.

Photo: Anne de Sales.

Fig. 2. The blessing of the shamans by their main master. April 2006.

Photo: Anne de Sales.

Table of Contents

mobile close