Christian N. Vannier: The Legitimation and Professionalization of Ritual Service in South Togo


Indigenous religious organizations in southern Togo represent organized means of professionalizing and legitimating indigenous religious specialists that provide ritual services such as healing to congregations and communities. Drawing upon interviews with religious specialists and observations surrounding these organizations, this article ethnographically details a particular organization whose principal aim is to codify and enforce social sanctions that originate in Vodu law. The article concludes that in this case study processes of formalization and professionalization signify processes of “NGOization,” the adoption of the “NGO form” that allows for the representation of beliefs and people not typically represented by the state or market.