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September 2022

Cult Med Psychiatry. 1992 Sep; 16(3): 337-65.

Reflections on Tamazai, a Tuareg idiom of suffering.

Rasmussen SJ.

Department of Anthropology, University of Houston, TX 77024-5882.

In this essay, I explore ways in which the theatrical and the medical are inextricably mixed and affect each other, in the Nigerien Tuareg idiom of tamazai. Tamazai is locally-described as "an illness of the heart and soul, not curable by Koranic verses," but by exorcism of spirits. A case study and analysis of healing rituals demonstrate how this idiom communicates women's relationships and empowers dramatic framing.

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