The Anthropology of Magic  book cover
1st Edition

The Anthropology of Magic

ISBN 9781845206710
Published November 1, 2009 by Routledge
172 Pages

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Book Description

Magic is arguably the least understood subject in anthropology today. Exotic and fascinating, it offers us a glimpse into another world but it also threatens to undermine the foundations of anthropology due to its supposed irrational and non-scientific nature. Magic has thus often been 'explained away' by social or psychological reduction. The Anthropology of Magic redresses the balance and brings magic, as an aspect of consciousness, into focus through the use of classic texts and cutting-edge research. Suitable for student and scholar alike, The Anthropology of Magic updates a classical anthropological debate concerning the nature of human experience. A key theme is that human beings everywhere have the potential for magical consciousness. Taking a new approach to some perennial topics in anthropology - such as shamanism, mythology, witchcraft and healing - the book raises crucial theoretical and methodological issues to provide the reader with an engaging and critical understanding of the dynamics of magic.Join the live discussion on Facebook!

Table of Contents

Introduction SECTION ONE: EXPLAINING MAGIC 1 Mystical Mentality 2 Participation 3 Magical Connections and Associations SECTION TWO: THE EXPERIENCE OF MAGIC 4 Magical Consciousness 5 A Mythological Language of Magic SECTION THREE: PRACTICAL MAGIC 6 Webs of Beliefs 7 Magic in Everyday Life SECTION FOUR: WORKING WITH MAGIC 8 The Nature of Reality 9 'Not Only, But Also': A New Attitude to Science

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Susan Greenwood is Visiting Senior Research Fellow, University of Sussex


An interesting read and a timely contribution to theories of magic, as it takes a fresh and contemporary approach to the much maligned topic of magic. The author shows us that magic is a human experience which deserves more thorough investigation. - Journal of Contemporary Religion