dog: ally or traitor? mythology, cosmology, and society among the Beng of Ivory Coast

ALMA GOTTLIEB

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dogs occupy a contradictory space in traditional Beng world view. In one myth, Dog introduced death to humanity, yet in another, he protected and identified with humans while betraying his fellow animals. The daily attitudes of Beng toward their dogs embody similar contradictions. As what I term “alter egos” to humans, dogs are named but not fed, and are generally both neglected, seen as dangerous, and treated as allies. This paper analyzes these and other paradoxes embodied in the role of dogs in human life, arguing for the possibility of a mutually reflexive relationship between mythology and society. 1986 American Anthropological Association

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-488
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

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