Ambiguity
   Shamans in many cultures are perceived ambiguously. While they may be called upon to heal or protect their communities and clients, they may also be suspected of being able and willing to harm people. The difference between a shaman and a sorcerer or witch is not equivalent to being “one of us” or an enemy. Commonly, “our shaman” may be as suspect of being dangerous and predatory as the shamans of enemy groups. Such ambiguous positions may arise from the initiations that make shamans different from “ordinary” people. They might enhance the ability of shamans to mediate between humans and other-than-human persons, but they can result in shamans being marginal to the ordinary life of their communities. In many respects, shamans perform roles in indigenous cultures and stories similar to the tricksters whose ambiguous or negative acts transform the world. Discussion of “dark shamans” (e.g., by Neil Whitehead) involve some of the most interesting considerations and examples of ambiguity. Alan Campbell’s summary is eloquent: “All very well to be the village doctor; but it’s not much of a role or an office to be the village killer.”

Historical dictionary of shamanism. . 2007.

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  • ambiguity — I noun abstruseness, ambiguitas, bafflement, bewilderment, confounded meaning, confused meaning, confusion, disconcertion, doubtful meaning, doubtfulness, dubiety, dubiousness, duplexity in meaning, equivocalness, equivocation, incertitude,… …   Law dictionary

  • ambiguity — 1. Ambiguity in language denotes the possibility of more than one meaning being understood from what is heard or read. Intentional ambiguity can be effective, for example as a literary device or in advertising. Our concern here is with… …   Modern English usage

  • ambiguity — ambiguity, equivocation, tergiversation, double entendre are comparable when they denote expression or, more often, an expression, capable of more than one interpretation. Ambiguity is referable to an expression that admits of two or sometimes… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Ambiguity — Студийный альбом Brainstorm Дата выпуска 11 июля 1998 Жанр …   Википедия

  • ambiguity — UK US /ˌæmbɪˈgjuːəti/ noun [C or U] (plural ambiguities) ► a situation in which something has more than one possible meaning and may therefore cause confusion, or an example of this: »We wish to remove any ambiguity concerning our demands. »There …   Financial and business terms

  • Ambiguity — Am bi*gu i*ty, n.; pl. {Ambiguities}. [L. ambiguitas, fr. ambiguus: cf. F. ambiguit[ e].] The quality or state of being ambiguous; doubtfulness or uncertainty, particularly as to the signification of language, arising from its admitting of more… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ambiguity — (n.) c.1400, uncertainty, doubt, also capability of having two meanings, from M.L. ambiguitatem (nom. ambiguitas) double meaning, noun of state from ambiguus (see AMBIGUOUS (Cf. ambiguous)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • ambiguity — [n] uncertainty of meaning doubleentendre, double meaning, doubt, doubtfulness, dubiety, dubiousness, enigma, equivocacy, equivocality, equivocation, incertitude, inconclusiveness, indefiniteness, indeterminateness, obscurity, puzzle,… …   New thesaurus

  • ambiguity — ► NOUN (pl. ambiguities) ▪ uncertain or inexact meaning …   English terms dictionary

  • ambiguity — [am΄bə gyo͞o′ə tē] n. [ME ambiguite < L ambiguitas] 1. the quality or state of being ambiguous 2. pl. ambiguities an ambiguous word, statement, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Ambiguity — Sir John Tenniel s illustration of the Caterpillar for Lewis Carroll s Alice s Adventures in Wonderland is noted for its ambiguous central figure, whose head can be viewed as being a human male s face with a pointed nose and pointy chin or being… …   Wikipedia

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