Anthropological theory has privileged consideration of the regularities of everyday life and has paid far less attention to irregular events that disrupt the social order. In this article, I contribute to ongoing theoretical attempts to redress this imbalance. While I acknowledge the potential historical importance of irregular and extraordinary events, I do not see them as entirely free-floating. Here I concur with Marshall Sahlins, who convincingly shows how people order unusual events through mythopraxis and also how social structures facilitate individual agency. I contemplate a third possible relation between structure and event, namely, “framing.” Drawing on my fieldwork in Bushbuckridge, South Africa, I show how people located and framed unfortunate and destructive events in zones that stood apart from everyday life. This process provides insight into witchcraft and homicide, topics that can no longer be understood only in terms of systemic agency.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.