Acting with things: Self-poiesis, actuality, and contingency in the formation of divine worlds

Miho Ishii


The aim of this study is to investigate how divine worlds can be created, vitalized, and lived by people. Focusing not on cognition and operating through things but on bodily action with things, this paper examines the actuality of these actions, which occur prior to the cognitive articulation of the event and create novel experiences of the world. It reconsiders Alfred Gell’s theory of idolatry through the ideas of Bin Kimura and Hideo Kawamoto. Exploring the making of spirits in Ghana and spirit possession rituals in South India, this paper presents a fresh view of the formation of divine worlds as the actualization of virtual, vital relations between persons and things that emerge only through their contingent coactions.



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau2.2.019