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“From This One Song Alone, I Consider Him to be a Holy Man”: Ecstatic Religion, Musical Affect, and the Global Consumer

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This essay considers why studying ecstatic religious parctices that include music as an integral component of trance and possession performance might be productive for sociologists, praticularly in the context of globalization. As spirit possession practices become connected with global markets, and as specific musical genres associated with trance are reinterpreted within secular frameworks (Indo-Pakistani Sufi qawwali singing and Afro-Cuban Ocha batá drumming, for example), ecstatic religious contexts, and decreasing emphasis is placed on the culturally specific locales from which these performance practices emerge. Why are self-identified nonbelievers interested in consuming musical genres that have their origins in ecstatic religious practices? What do these commodified and recontextualized ecstatic religious practices provide the people who consume them?

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2006


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