We are often told that the Cartesian dualism between mind and body is at the root of many problems in the analysis of human society, and certainly spirit possession and trance seem to fit particularly badly into a conceptual framework built around a rigid mind-body distinction. It is less easy to find a convincing alternative. Much of the difficulty derives from the extent to which the categories of mind and body have been naturalized within most Western languages, and particularly within the English language, which has now achieved such dominant status within the academic world. It is possible to find ways of speaking that begin from an assumption of mind-body unity, but they tend to sound clumsy and artificial, at least to begin with, when phrased in a language such as English where the mind-body distinction is fully naturalized.
Spirit Possession and Trance: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives p. 35-52