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The Victim and its Masks

An Essay on Sacrifice and Masquerade in the Maghreb

Each year, in a solemn Sunni Muslim feast, the Ait Mizane of southern Morocco reenact the story of Abraham as a ritual sacrifice, a symbolic observance of their submission to the divine. After this sober ceremony comes a bacchanalian masquerade which seems to violate every principle the sacrifice affirmed. Because of the apparent contradiction between sacrifice and masquerade, observers have described the two as entirely separate events. This book reunites them as a single ritual process within Islamic tradition.

216 pages | 15 halftones, 3 line drawings, 12 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1993

African Studies

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Table of Contents

Preface to the English Edition
Note on Transcription
I. Toward a Systematic Ethnography of the Festival
1. Colonial Anthropology on the Sacrifice and the Masquerade: In Search of a Lost Religion
2. Human Action in Its Environment: Concerning Some Structural Tensions
3. The Sacrifice
4. Narratives about Bilmawn: The Scenario
5. Bilmawn Observed: Street Theater
7. Local Exegesis
II. The Sacrifice and the Masquerade Interpreted
8. Theoretical Approaches
9. Prayer and Preparation of the Victim: Ideal Community, and the Division and Hierarchy of Ritual Roles
10. The Rite and the Myth: Sense and Nonsense about the Sacrifice
11. The Masks and Their Forays: Marginality, Hyperdefinition, and the Revenge of the Son
12. On Indetermination and the Deceptions of a Second Founding Drama

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