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To deny death: Succession rites among the Wè/Guéré, Canton Boo, Western Côte d'Ivoire

Monni Adams
Zeitschrift für Ethnologie
Bd. 117 (1992), pp. 89-116
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25842244
Page Count: 28
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To deny death: Succession rites among the Wè/Guéré, Canton Boo, Western Côte d'Ivoire
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Abstract

Wè-speaking people in Canton Boo in western Côte d'Ivoire make symbolic claims on immortality by a number of cultural representations that deny death. Two principal forms of such denials are succession rites and masked personnages. For men and women of accomplishment, succession rites enact the prompt replacement of the social identity forfeited by the deceased. Masked personnages, characterized as immortal beings originating in ancestral time, perform at major funerals yet within their ritual frame, death cannot be mentioned. The author proposes that community sharing in symbolic immortality epitomized by masked rituals helps account for the persistent support of masking in this region.

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