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Tragic SpiritsShamanism, Memory, and Gender in Contemporary Mongolia$
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Manduhai Buyandelger

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226086552

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226013091.001.0001

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Persuasion and Power

Persuasion and Power

(p.203) Six Persuasion and Power
Tragic Spirits

Manduhai Buyandelger

University of Chicago Press

In Chapter 6 the author explores conventional and creative strategies for success by male shamans. Unlike female shamans who constantly push against the larger system, male shamans are gainfully positioned in a male-dominated patriarchal system. Their shamanic strategies include demonstrating kinship affiliations with well-known (during their lifetime) ancestors; seeking international recognition through global travel and networking; and using everyday micro-tactics to recruit clients through casual conversations and impromptu encounters. These postsocialist shamans must also demonstrate their prowess in dealing with the influx of previously suppressed unidentifiable spirits who roam in search for human hosts. Some shamans construct tight-knit kinship enclosures from their origin spirits and block the stranger-spirits from pestering them. Others take the opposite route, adopting the orphaned spirits for various tasks. Economic success and spiritual power prove to be interdependent; material resources are necessary to support spiritual advancement. But this presents a delicate line for shamans to tread: though they display their economic success in order to prove that their spirits are potent, they must also downplay their material interests in order to persuade others of their spiritual power, thus maintaining their credibility and avoiding being labelled “business shamans.”

Keywords:   Audience, Travel, Success, Business shamans, Credibility, Kinship, Economic success, Spiritual powers

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