Mittwoch, 19. Mrz 2014, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

Wednesday Seminar - Hansjörg Dilger

Possession, Punishment and the Principle of Charity: Moral Learning and its Embodiment in Christian and Muslim Schools in Dar es Salaam

HS-C, Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie (NIG)
Universitätsstraße 7, 4. Stock, 1010 Wien


In this paper, I build on my ethnographic research on the “new” generation of Christian and Muslim schools in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2008-2010, 10 months in total). I argue that individual schools – and the pupils and teachers learning and teaching within them – have become engaged in specific moral practices that reflect on the particular religious and ideological frameworks in which these schools are embedded. Furthermore, I show that particular ways of “moral learning” – which will be exemplified with regard to disciplinary measures in Christian and reform-oriented Muslim schools, on the one hand, and the notion of possession by evil forces prevalent in “Pentecostal” schools, on the other – leave a significant imprint on the minds and bodies of young people and are to be understood as a form of “embodied morality” (Rydstrøm 2003). In the second part of the paper, I turn to the case study of a charity event that was organized as a visit of a Catholic primary school class in a local orphanage in Dar es Salaam. I argue that the notion of embodied morality needs also to be understood with regard to transnational forces and power relations that have come to shape the life worlds and everyday experiences of children and their families and teachers with regard to growing social inequalities in the neoliberal era; and the corresponding ethics of charity and dependency especially among the emerging middle and upper classes of Dar es Salaam.

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Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie


Marie-Therese Filip
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie
+43-1-42 77 495 02