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Assignment: Academic Critical Thinking Essay
Assignment Academic Critical Thinking Essay
Comparison of Geschiere and Klima’s Arguments
According to Geschiere, the current obsession with witchcraft in the African society should not be construed as a remnant of the traditional practice. The author indicates that the current practice of witchcraft is a modern practice having its foundation on the prevailing custom. He further asserts that the process of linking witchcraft with modernity is a global development. In other areas of the world, this practice has been described differently. The phenomenon is what “the Comaros call the economies of the occult” (Geschiere: 431).
Geschiere bases his book on his understanding of the Cameroonian society and compares it with similar practice in Taiwan. The book highlights the modern forms of witchcraft in Cameroon that is employed to unequivocally pursue wealth. He compares this practice to Weller’s study regarding rise in the spiritual cults in Taiwan. The upsurge of the spiritual worship is directly linked to the rise of the Asian tiger (Geschiere: 517). The author further highlights the effect that such forces have on people towards global orientation and identity. Both spiritual cult and witchcraft possess surprising powers as occult forces both at the global and local levels. The two phenomena have significant impact on the manner in which people attempt to deal with the challenges that are existent in the modern world.
Klima and Geschiere both focus their works on the role of witchcraft and cult spirits on the economic and social wellbeing of the people. The former bases his work on the Thailand society and how the practice of rituals is viewed by the people. He avers that from the year 1997, known as the Thai baht, instances of mass ritual for passion and money have become prevalent in the Buddhist society (Kilman: 319). According to him, the people of Thailand have decided to address the challenges of globalization by using the monetary spirit. The practice has become popular and synonymous to community culture as one way of curing the predicaments of globalization on the ordinary people. For instance, the Buddhist people perform donation ceremonies as one way of strengthening the national currency reserve. Moreover, the Thai people have, in their calendar, the national rites that are meant to help the spirit of their leader. The belief in the spirits forms the foundation of love, money and identity in Thailand. On the other hand, Klima suggests that the study of human emotions ought to shift its focus from the interpretation of the cultural systems. The global interpretation of ritual and spiritual practice ought to shift towards identifying the prevailing beliefs and practices.
In summary, these two books focus on the use of ritual and spiritual forces in the contemporary world. Comparison is made on the way different societies-one in Asia and one in Africa-integrate their spiritual beliefs and practices into their economic lives. The South Western Cameroonian society is treated as a representation of the modern African society. The people in this area believe that witchcraft can be relied upon to obtain and to maintain wealth. Similarly, the Thai people in Asia have practiced the same spiritual worship and rites as a means of boosting their economic growth. The rise of the Asian tigers has been attributed to peculiar rituals founded on the belief that the spirits have supreme authority over the fate of man. Money, power, love and fame are attributed to spiritual forces.
In Africa, as exhibited by the South West Cameroon study, people use love portions to lure the people they love. The witchdoctors are famous for administering portions to individuals who have desire to make others fall in love with them. The same practice has been witnessed in Thailand. The witchdoctors in Asia and in Africa perform the same functions albeit in different environments. This has nothing to do with history or cultural practices. There is a clear difference between the practice of witchcraft in the post-colonial and pre-colonial Africa. The difference emanates from the people’s perception of modernity. “In the 1960s, in the earliest years of Independence, there was rather a tendency certainly among the new elite to oppose witchcraft to modernity” (Geschiere: 820). This was the early period when the elites in Africa viewed witchcraft as backwardness. They associated the same with darkness. Nevertheless, things began to change slowly as modernity continued to gain root. Many Africans who wanted economic and social empowerment began to slowly adopt witchcraft. The same phenomenon was witnessed among the Asian tigers in the 1970s. For instance, in Thailand, the locals turned to spiritual and cult worship which they attributed to the nation’s economic rise.
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Therefore, a clear difference that emerges between these two societies involves the extent to which witchcraft and spirits were relied
upon for the societal welfare. The African governments did not prefer witchcraft or spirits for the nations’ well-being. On the contrary, the Asians like Thailand integrate their spiritual dependence into their national economic well-being. Witchcraft practice in Cameroon is individual while for Thailand it is national. “Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, made sure to be personally in attendance for this mass ritual, to receive the gold bars from Luangta Maha Bua on behalf of the nation” (Kilman: 458). This is an indication that spiritual and cult worship had become a national norm. Unlike the people of Cameroon, the people of Thailand believe that their nation is guided by the spirits.
Prompt: Alan Klima interprets events in Thailand (and certain mass Buddhist rituals) as a response to capital flight. Peter Geschiere reviews scholarship on the accusations of witchcraft, and the work of witch doctors, in different parts of post-colonial West Africa. Both authors are discussing the encounter/interaction between (what Gudeman calls) “high relationship” and “high market” economies. Write an essay comparing and contrasting Klima and Geschiere’s frameworks and arguments about this encounter/interaction, drawing on specific evidence in both readings.
Assignment: Mandatory Requirements
-Response (worth 50 points) should be no shorter than 600 words and no longer than 850 words in length
1. Please read three readings carefully and do not just summarize readings.
2. Use specific examples/evidence drawn from the readings to substantiate your points in each response.
3. Dive into answering the prompt; no need for intro and conclusion paragraphs. Remember this is a short answer response, not an actual essay.
4. When citing the course readings, use this simple in-text format: (Gudeman: 21; or, Mauss: 48). No need to include Works Cited or Bibliography.
5. Be prudent in your use of quotations. Where possible, paraphrase and cite as above. Save quotations for especially stressing a point you are already making yourself in your own prose. In other words, it is best to use quotes to underline your own logic, rather than to take a step for you in the logic of your essay.