The purpose of this essay is to understand the language of spiritual work and healing in St. Lucia as well as the moral impregnation of the term obeah. This ethnographic study of ordinary ethics of obeah explores the significant gap between the designation and auto-legitimation of healers and spiritual workers. Because, in most cases, the term is not used by practitioners to identify their spiritual and healing practice, the author proposes to relocate the definition of obeah from its specific practices to its moral burden. This approach helps reevaluate the use of obeah in social science writings related to the St. Lucian context. Social scientists must be very attentive to not contribute to the othering of healing and spiritual practices and to consider their involvement in its construction.
Marie Meudec; Ordinary Ethics of Spiritual Work and Healing in St. Lucia, or Why Not to Use the Term Obeah. Small Axe 1 March 2017; 21 (1 (52)): 17–32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-3844034
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