Children accused of witchcraft in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Between structural and symbolic violence
In this paper I consider the phenomenon of the “child-witches” in Lubumbashi (Katanga, DRC) as the result of the intertwine of two dynamics: the accusation of children within the sphere of the family and the large number of street children in Congolese cities. On the one hand, witchcraft accusations within the family tend to work in two ways: as a mode of childrenʼs subjugation, exerted especially by pastors in neopentecostal churches; and as a “pragmatic of uncertainty” that allow Congolese families to deal with uncertainties of life, such as sickness, suffering, marital problems, failure, and death. On the other hand, children in the streets of Lubumbashi suggest a witchcraft discourse linked to the symbolic violence that should be read in terms of boundaries, margins, and liminality: street children are associated with witches because they have transgressed basic social norms and they live out of the ordinary social networks (kinship, family, school). In this vein, I propose an ethnographic approach which takes into account the multiform feature of the “child-witches” highlighting the importance of the everyday practices and ordinary objects in family ties definition and witchcraft accusations.
Anuac is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence 4.0. With the licence CC-BY, authors retain the copyright, allowing anyone to download, reuse, re-print, modify, distribute and/or copy their contribution. The work must be properly attributed to its author. It should be also mentioned that the work has been first published by the journal Anuac.
Having published these contributions for the first time, Anuac will have the right to publish them integrally or partially as reprints or possibly as part of a thematic issue, in both digital and printed format.
It is not necessary to ask further permissions both to author or the journal.
Photographs and other images
Photographs and other images marked with the symbol Copyright © cannot be distributed. The readers of the journal or the users of the website can download photographs and other images that are not marked with the above mentioned symbol.