After Sacrifice: Deeds and words for protection and cure


  • Marja-Liisa Honkasalo University of Turku


The article examines how ritual, particularly ritual healing, becomes transnational and how the change impacts on its efficacy. It is based on a multi-sited ethnography with the objective of tracing the shifting status of ideas and practices of efficacy in multiple sites that cross-cut the local / global dichotomy. Fieldwork (2011–2012, 2014) started in three Gengbe-speaking villages along the river Mono between Togo and Benin, which shared Vodon and Catholic ritual belief. The ethnographic itinerary continued to the cities of Lome and Cotonou and ended up in Helsinki among diasporic Pentecostal West African people. The argument is that ritual transforms into multiple practices en route and, in order to keep and protect its efficacy, a variety of transnational practices and new cultural meanings are attached to it, especially to the role and the meaning of sacrifice. Drawing on her fieldwork the author argues that for the persons and communities for whom the sacrificial rituals are performed, the experiential significance of the ‘original’ blood sacrifice does not disappear.

How to Cite

Honkasalo, M.-L. (2017). After Sacrifice: Deeds and words for protection and cure. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 41(4), 29–45. Retrieved from