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Accueil > Archives > Ancients projets de recherche > Anthropologie des mathématiques > Version anglaise > Seminars > Brainstorming team on Ethnomathematics > Marc Chemillier

Marc Chemillier

Minutes of the meeting of the 17th of february 2005, on Marc Chemillier’s study of

Sikidy divination in Madagascar

People comming to the meeting where invited to read two articles by Marc Chemillier, relating his field work in Madagascar :

 Marc Chemillier défends the idea that you can discuss formal problems with the diviners without having to get involved in the mystical interpretation they have of such activities. He says that he still needs to be convinced that the context can help him in this case. He says that he has seen some very gruesome vaudou rituals associated with sikidy divination, and didn’t see any link with the formal work on the grains.

 Marc Chemillier talks about the big divide in ethnomusicology between those interested in the context and those interested in musical forms. Both being of course important, all depending on what is the question you ask at the begining. We all agree that what is interesting is the articulation between the formal reasoning and the context, but to do so you need to know what is happening on both levels. Concerning sikidy divination, the devinors know how to explicit the formal rules of the tables, even the rules that aren’t used when they are divining. But they do not say what it means to them. Everybody in Madagascar seems to know the basic rules of table manipulation, which enables one to control that a divinor knows how to makes tables and does it with more or less dexterity and wit.