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Gygi, Fabio R. (2019) 'Things that Believe: Talismans, Amulets, Dolls, and How to Get Rid of Them.' Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 45 (2). pp. 423-452.

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Abstract

This article looks at religious and semi-religious paraphernalia in everyday life from the perspective of disposal. Recent research in religious studies and anthropology has focused on the ways in which beliefs are performed through religious objects. But what happens to the object that is not performed? What notions of materiality do they bring into play? By using the notion of migawari (body substitution) and ethnographic vignettes, I argue that talismans and amulets become “believing substitutes” that allow for an externalization of belief altogether. They become problematic again at the point of disposal. In particular, in the case of dolls, where body substitution acquires a literal sense, questions of the relationship between dolls and their owners, and of their value and inalienability, add to the dolls’ ambiguity. Memorial rites for dolls instill a sense of closure for participants by appealing to orthopraxy rather than by addressing beliefs concerning dolls.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: materiality, orthopraxy, belief, substitution, dolls, migawari, kuyō
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 03041042
Copyright Statement: © 2018 Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture. This article has been published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.18874/jjrs.45.2.2018.423-452
Date Deposited: 03 May 2018 08:33
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/25800
Related URLs: http://nirc.nan ... lications/jjrs/ (Publisher URL)

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