The Hatchet's Blood
The ritual complexes of the Ehing, a farming people of southern Senegal, embody an elaborate set of prohibitions on social behavior and prescribe the general rules of Ehing social organization. Power is distributed and maintained in Ehing culture by the concept of Odieng ("hatchet"), which as a spirit acts upon human beings much as an ax does upon a tree, falling from above to punish its victims for transgression. Marc Schloss's ethnography of the Ehing is a study of the meaning of Odieng's power, explaining why its rules are so essential to the Ehing way of life.
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