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ARC-16: Where (fragmented) selves meet cultures: Theorising spirit possession by Taves, Ann

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    New item in the Archive for Religion and Cognition: Click on: http://www.csr-arc.com//view.php?arc=16 Author(s): Taves, Ann Title: Where (fragmented) selves
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 6, 2007
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      New item in the Archive for Religion and Cognition:


      Click on: http://www.csr-arc.com//view.php?arc=16

      Author(s): Taves, Ann
      Title: Where (fragmented) selves meet cultures: Theorising spirit possession
      Category: published article
      Length:
      Keywords: hypnosis; dissociation; mediums; spirit possession; spiritualism; suggestion; involuntary experience

      Abstract: Cognitive theories of religious experience, while helpful in explaining some aspects of spirit possession, do not provide a means of accounting for the experience of mediums whose ordinary selves are `absent\' during possession rituals. Using the late nineteenth century medium, Mrs Piper, as a case study, I argue that hypnosis provides a means of inducing involuntary experiences similar to those experienced by possessed persons, and that models of how hypnosis works in both hypnotic `virtuosos\' and ordinary subjects can be utilised in thinking theoretically about involuntary experiences in religious contexts. In conclusion, I suggest that phenomena of interest to scholars of religion might be subsumed under the heading `auto-suggestive phenomena\' and contrasted with the `hetero-suggestive phenomena\' associated with hypnosis proper and the `autosuggestive disorders\' associated with hysteria in the nineteenth century, and conversion and dissociative disorders in the twentieth century.

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