Tantsa: Intuition as authoritative know-how in the Roman Catholic Philippines

Julius Bautista


This article examines ritual nailing on the cross as a conduit for a process of ethical self-making among Roman Catholics in Pampanga, the Philippines. I emphasize the intersubjective and pedagogical components of this process by discussing the implementation of tantsa (literally, “to estimate”) as the intuitive capacity that facilitates ritual outcomes through the collaborative establishment of authoritative know-how. Aligning insight from feminist anthroplogy of the body with my own participant observation in Pampanga, I discuss tantsa through two distinct analytical corridors: (1) as a way of learning and intuiting another’s personhood, and (2) as an implementation of a tactile bodily technique that establishes the intercorporeal connectedness between two ritual protagonists.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/727959