Every week thousands of people in Europe and the USA consult psychic practitioners. Communication is crucial to the performance of psychic powers in a range of settings. Psychic practitioners use language to demonstrate their powers, whether they are reporting the words of their spirit contacts or interpreting the spread of Tarot cards. Their clients also accept or reject this information through talk. This book presents the first sustained study of the verbal interaction between the various kinds of psychic practitioners and their clients. Using conversation analysis, Robin Wooffitt examines the structure of the interaction, focusing on the ways in which psychic practitioners and their clients establish the authenticity of the claimed paranormal powers. Adopting a neutral standpoint towards the status of the claims of psychic practitioners, the book raises important issues about the role of social science in understanding the activities of psychic practitioners and other kinds of parapsychological phenomena. This highly original study will appeal to students and scholars of discourse studies, and to sociologists interested in conversation analysis. It is written in a style accessible to non-specialists, and will also interest parapsychologists and social scientists studying psychic phenomena and the paranormal.
Table of Contents
Contents: Psychic practitioners in contemporary society; Psychic practitioners and social science; Analysing the organization of successful demonstrations of paranormal cognition; The collaborative production of paranormal cognition; The inferential production of identity in mediums' discourse; Trouble management; The spirits and trouble management; Communication and anomalous experiences; Appendix; Index.
Robin Wooffitt is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of York, UK. He has authored and co-authored five other books. He has also published in Sociology, The British Journal of Social Psychology, Text, Discourse Studies, the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, The Journal of Parapsychology and The European Journal of Parapsychology.