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Memories in Photography and Rebirth: Toward a Psychosocial Therapy of the Metaphysics of Reincarnation Among Traditional Esan People of Southern Nigeria

Isaac E. Ukpokolo
Journal of Black Studies
Vol. 43, No. 3 (APRIL 2012), pp. 289-302
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23215214
Page Count: 14
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Memories in Photography and Rebirth: Toward a Psychosocial Therapy of the Metaphysics of Reincarnation Among Traditional Esan People of Southern Nigeria
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Abstract

The aim of this article is to show that beyond the need for the justification of the belief in reincarnation, beyond the quest for evidences to prove its reality or otherwise, the idea of rebirth has a pragmatic role in the cultures where it is held. Using the theorization of rebirth among the Esan people of southern Nigeria as a pilot, it asserts that the idea of rebirth plays a psychosocial, therapeutic function of comfort and healing for those traumatized by the death of a loved one. This, it shall be seen, is similar to, even more reliable than, the role of photography in preserving cherished memories. The article does not, therefore, mean to join issues in the myth-reality or truth-falsehood debate on rebirth among scholars but attempts to establish the role of reincarnation, like photography, in bringing the past into the present.

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