Narratiiv kui ravi: riituse-etendus ja narratiivi aktualiseerumine kogemusena
NARRATIVE AS THE CURE: RITE PERFORMANCE AND THE ACTUALIZATION OF NARRATIVE AS EXPERIENCE
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This paper addresses theoretical issues of narrative in an attempt to approach the semantics of understanding underlying the performance of certain healing rites. The first section of the paper introduces the term narrative power to refer to the cultural load developed by narratives and narrative strategies and develops a framework for approaching healing rite performance as the application of strategies which actualize narrative as experience. The Finno-Karelian tietäjä tradition is discussed in relation to shamanic rite performance and memorized traditions of incantations, particularly those which incorporate historiolae. The European incantation tradition exhibits a fixed text approach which may bear continuities in strategies of application but continuities between performance and the healing event are ambiguous, open to interpretation, and the tradition does not require ‘understanding’ at all. Shamanic traditions are incredibly diverse, but they present an opposite extreme of subjective, internalized understandings of the mythic world and strategies for manipulating narrative power as an effective means of negotiating the recovery of a patient in interaction with the unseen world. The rites of the tietäjä have evolved between these two sets of strategies. The poetic meter inclines individual lines of verse to crystallize and somewhat flexible constellations of lines emerge as familiar compositional units in incantations and other genres. The degree to which rite performance was a variable emergent narrative nearer shamanic rites or a consistently reproduced – if verbally flexible – narrative more akin to the strategies of the European incantation would be dependent on the individual tietäjä, even if in the cultural milieu emphasis was placed on understanding the unseen world and the significance of elements manipulated in the incantations. These traditions have been addressed here in generalizations in order to offer an overview of strategies applied and also how those strategies both interact with and affect other phenomena in the tradition ecology which for centuries may have been shaping a remarkable range of traditions and aspects of the worldview more generally. However, it must be remembered that these traditions have always been dynamic rather than uniform, and it is through the flexibility and openness to reinterpretation that the narrative power of these traditions could persist as viable instruments for crisis resolution through centuries of cultural change.
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