Blowing specific words : verbal charms as material suspended events

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Siragusa , L & Zhukova , O Y 2021 , ' Blowing specific words : verbal charms as material suspended events ' , Multilingua , vol. 40 , no. 4 , pp. 463-485 .

Title: Blowing specific words : verbal charms as material suspended events
Author: Siragusa, Laura; Zhukova, Ol'ga Yu
Contributor organization: Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies
Area and Cultural Studies
Department of Cultures
Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
Date: 2021-07
Language: eng
Number of pages: 23
Belongs to series: Multilingua
ISSN: 0167-8507
Abstract: This article undermines the actuality of a strict boundary between language and materiality by presenting verbal charms (puheged, vajhed/pakitas in Vepsian) among Veps, an Indigenous minority group of Northwest Russia. Vepsian verbal charms are ritualizedways of speaking that are customarily used to prompt a change in both human beings and environments in very tangibleways. When observing how they are conceived, distributed, and performed among Veps, the rigid separation between "material" and "immaterial" realms begins to be felt as an artificial construction, since Veps understand that in the act of "blowing" air accompanied by the recitation of "specificwords," human and often non-human agencies join forces to promote changes in people and the environment. This paper engages not onlywith the academic interest in the material intersections between language and the world (see, Cavanaugh and Shankar 2017; Keane 2008a; Wiener 2013, to name a few), but also aims to reframe the notion of "event" as a transformative and suspended encounter between human and often non-human agencies (Kapferer 2015) and thus deepen our understanding of what living relationally might entail.
Subject: event
human and non-human agencies
language (and) materiality
Northwest Russia
verbal charms
6121 Languages
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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