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Developing the DeadMediumship and Selfhood in Cuban Espiritismo$
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Diana Espirito Santo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060781

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060781.001.0001

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Encounter, Selfhood, and Multiplicity

Encounter, Selfhood, and Multiplicity

(p.155) 4 Encounter, Selfhood, and Multiplicity
Developing the Dead

Diana Espírito Santo

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses some of the book’s main protagonists and their stories of spiritual encounter and discovery. Through ethnographic vignettes of both experienced and neophyte mediums, this chapter argues that the body is experienced as the site of often sudden complexifications of self, through illnesses, trauma, dreams, visions, and other marked events, which all call for a fracturing and reconfiguration of the person and her borders via the encompassment of spirits. Latour’s concept of “acquiring a body” is discussed, along with other primarily phenomenological approaches that stress orientational and intersubjective processes in the formation of selfhoods. The ontological underpinnings of espiritismo’s theory of self are analyzed, and new terms and analogies are proposed in order to more successfully describe it.

Keywords:   Mediumship, Illness, Spirit guides, Dreams, Divination

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