Power and performance : ethnographic explorations through proverbial wisdom and theater in Shaba, Zaire / Johannes Fabian.

by Fabian, Johannes [author.]Looking glass.

Series: New directions in anthropological writing: Publisher: Madison, Wis. ; University of Wisconsin Press, [1990]Description: xix, 314 pages ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0299125106; 0299125149; 9780299125103; 9780299125141.Other title: Ethnographic explorations through proverbial wisdom and theater in Shaba, Zaire.Subject(s): Luba (African people)Looking glass | Philosophy, LubaLooking glass | Power (Social sciences)Looking glass | Theater -- Congo (Democratic Republic) -- KatangaNote: Includes bibliographical references (pages 293-305) and index. Summary: In 1985 the distinguished anthropologist, Johannes Fabian, while engaged in fieldwork in the Shaba province of Zaire, first encountered this saying. Its implications -- for the charismatic religious movements Fabian was examining, for the highly charged political atmosphere of Zaire, and for the cultures of the Luba peoples -- continued to intrigue him, though its meaning remained elusive. On a later visit, he mentioned the saying to a company of popular actors, and triggered an ethnographic brainstorm. Power and Performance examines traditional proverbs about power as it illustrates how the performance of Le pouvoir se mange entier was created, rehearsed, and performed by the Troupe Theatrale Mufwankolo. The play deals with the issue of power through a series of conflicts between villagers and their chief. Both rehearsal and performance versions of the text of this drama are included, in Swahili and in English translation.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Power is eaten whole (Le pouvoir se mange entier). In 1985 the distinguished anthropologist Johannes Fabian, engaged in fieldwork in the Shaba province of Zaire, first encountered this saying about power. Its implications - for the charismatic religious movements Fabian was examining, for the highly charged political atomosphere of Zaire, and for the culture of the Lub peoples - continued to intrigue him, but its meaning remained elusive. On a later visit, he mentioned the saying to a company of popular actors, and triggered an ethnographic brainstorm. They decided it would be just the right topic for their next play.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 293-305) and index.

In 1985 the distinguished anthropologist, Johannes Fabian, while engaged in fieldwork in the Shaba province of Zaire, first encountered this saying. Its implications -- for the charismatic religious movements Fabian was examining, for the highly charged political atmosphere of Zaire, and for the cultures of the Luba peoples -- continued to intrigue him, though its meaning remained elusive. On a later visit, he mentioned the saying to a company of popular actors, and triggered an ethnographic brainstorm. Power and Performance examines traditional proverbs about power as it illustrates how the performance of Le pouvoir se mange entier was created, rehearsed, and performed by the Troupe Theatrale Mufwankolo. The play deals with the issue of power through a series of conflicts between villagers and their chief. Both rehearsal and performance versions of the text of this drama are included, in Swahili and in English translation.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Maps and Figures (p. xi)
  • Preface (p. xiii)
  • Acknowledgments (p. xv)
  • Chapter 1 Reflections on Ethnography (p. 3)
  • Discovery: From Informative to Performative Ethnography (p. 3)
  • Performance: Some Uses in and around Anthropology (p. 7)
  • Some Ideas Guiding this Study (p. 11)
  • Moving Ahead: Performance and Survival (p. 15)
  • Chapter 2 The "Problem": Power and Cultural Axiom (p. 21)
  • Of Power and Chicken Gizzards (p. 22)
  • The Missing Proverb (p. 26)
  • Power and Lore: Some Elements in Luba Culture (p. 30)
  • Cultural Axioms and Performance (p. 36)
  • Chapter 3 The Experimenters (p. 40)
  • The Troupe Theatrale Mufwankolo: First Encounter and Some History (p. 40)
  • Popular Theater in Shaba: Settings and Contexts (p. 52)
  • Chapter 4 The Experiment (p. 61)
  • The Setting: Glimpses of Power and Play (p. 61)
  • The Work: A Chronological Account of the Rehearsal Process (p. 64)
  • The Play: Dress Rehearsal and Shooting Le pouvoir se mange entier (p. 80)
  • Chapter 5 Interlude: The Missing Text (p. 87)
  • Ethnographic Texts as Protocols (p. 87)
  • Protocols of What? (p. 92)
  • Remarks and Apologies on Transcription and Translation (p. 97)
  • Chapter 6 Plot and Players (p. 101)
  • From Saying to Play: Developing a Plot (p. 101)
  • Power Is Eaten Whole: Bwana Cheko's Version (Text 1) (p. 101)
  • Power Is Eaten Whole: Mufwankolo's Version (Text 2) (p. 110)
  • The Players (p. 120)
  • Chapter 7 Scene 1: The Law of the Land (p. 125)
  • Introductory Song: Rehearsal Version (Text 3) (p. 125)
  • Last Directions (Text 4) (p. 126)
  • Announcing the Chief: Rehearsal Version (Text 5) (p. 130)
  • The Chief's Speech: Rehearsal Version (Text 6) (p. 131)
  • Directions for the Chief's Departure (Text 7) (p. 136)
  • Announcing the Chief: Final Version (Text 8) (p. 139)
  • The Chief's Speech: Final Version (Text 9) (p. 140)
  • Chapter 8 Scene 2: Trouble Brewing (p. 145)
  • Contesting the Chief: Rehearsal Version (Text 10) (p. 145)
  • Contesting the Chief: Final Version (Fragments: Text 11) (p. 157)
  • Chapter 9 Scene 3: The Case of the Thief (p. 159)
  • The Case of the Thief: Rehearsal Version (Text 12) (p. 161)
  • The Case of the Thief: The Chief's Verdict, Final Version (Text 13) (p. 173)
  • Chapter 10 Scene 4: The Hunter's Visit (p. 175)
  • The Hunter's Visit: Rehearsal Version (Text 14) (p. 176)
  • The Hunter's Visit: Final Version (Text 15) (p. 188)
  • Chapter 11 Scene 5: The Case of Adultery (p. 193)
  • The Case of Adultery: Rehearsal Version (Text 16) (p. 193)
  • The Case of Adultery: Final Version (Text 17) (p. 212)
  • Chapter 12 Scene 6: Revolt in the Fields (p. 225)
  • Revolt in the Fields: Rehearsal Version (Text 18) (p. 226)
  • The Chief Goes to the Fields: Rehearsal Version (Text 19) (p. 239)
  • The Chief Sends Tala Ngai to the Fields (Text 20) (p. 241)
  • Tala Ngai in the Fields (Text 21) (p. 242)
  • The Chief Sends His Guards to the Fields (Text 22) (p. 243)
  • The Chief Sends Bwana Cheko and Masimango to the Fields (Text 23) (p. 244)
  • The Chief Sends His Wife to the Fields (Text 24) (p. 245)
  • The Chief Goes to the Fields: Final Version (Text 25) (p. 246)
  • Chapter 13 Scene 7: The Chief Takes Control: Order Restored (p. 248)
  • The Chief's Final Speech: Kachelewa's Directions (Text 26) (p. 248)
  • The Chief's Final Speech: Rehearsal Version (Text 27) (p. 250)
  • The Chief's Final Speech: Final Version (Text 28) (p. 253)
  • Chapter 14 Reflections and Afterthoughts (p. 257)
  • On Endings, Meanings, and Interpretation (p. 257)
  • All Is Well That Ends Well... (p. 258)
  • Does It "End Well"? (p. 260)
  • Closure and Meaning (p. 261)
  • On Performance, Folklore, and Power (p. 263)
  • Appendix Bwana Cheko's Scenario (p. 291)
  • Bibliography (p. 293)
  • Index (p. 307)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

"Le pouvoir se mange entier"--power is consumed whole--is a saying drawn from Zairean popular wisdom. In Lubumbashi, the capital of Shaba Province, everyone knows the proverb, and everyone knows what it "means," but no one can define it or translate it with precision; there is no analog in the Zairean languages of Shaba. Fabian's book focuses on this paradox. He was introduced to the saying in a most revealing incident, which he shares with us. He then details the complex process by which a popular theater group transformed the proverb into performance. Their discussions and procedures provide fascinating insight into how popular culture operates at multiple levels so that theatrical performance retains (and extends) the ambiguous, subtle character of popular wisdom. The book includes the entire text (in both Shaba Swahili and English translation) of the theatrical production as it appeared on Zairean television. But this, Fabian's fifth book (each highly original), is not just an ethnography of performance. Drawing on his many years of work in the area, the commentary ranges widely over the cultural landscape of contemporary Zaire and has much to say on popular culture, ethnographic methods, and anthropological theory. It is also a well-produced volume, with footnotes on each page. Highly recommended for graduate library collections on Africa or anthropology. D. Newbury University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Johannes Fabian is Professor in the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Non-Western Sociology at the University of Amsterdam.

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