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January 2022

Evil spirit sickness, the Christian disease: The innovation of a new syndrome of mental derangement and redemption in Papua New Guinea

Journal/Book: Cult Med Psychiat. 1996; 20: Spuiboulevard 50, PO Box 17, 3300 AA Dordrecht, Netherlands. Kluwer Academic Publ. 1-39.

Abstract: This essay analyses the cultural and historical processes involved in the emergence of Evil Spirit Sickness, a form of mental or behavioral derangement that appeared among the Bosavi people of Papua New Guinea during a period of intense Christian evangelization and religious excitement. It explores the the emergence of the disorder both as a form of psychological breakdown under the burden of intolerable life stress and a socially innovated, ritually structured, and performatively achieved mode of seeking redemption in a Papuan Christian context.

Note: Article EL Schieffelin, Univ London Univ Coll, Dept Anthropol, Gower St, London WC1E 6BT, England


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