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Powers of Good and Evil: Social Transformation and Popular Belief

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Powers of Good and Evil

Social Transformation and Popular Belief

Edited by Paul Clough and Jon P. Mitchell

264 pages, 11 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-992-5 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (June 2001)

ISBN  978-1-57181-313-8 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (June 2001)

eISBN 978-1-78238-756-5 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - edit   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…lively and ethnographically interesting. This makes Powers of Good and Evil an excellent teaching resource." • Ethnos


A key theme in the anthropology of beliefs is the relationship between socio-economic change and changes in the belief system. It has been widely argued that rapid economic change, particularly the introduction of capitalism, leads to an increase in beliefs in, and representations of, evil and the devil. These beliefs, it is argued, constitute forms of resistance to, or rejection of, "modernity." This volume builds on these arguments, suggesting that rather than an indigenous resistance to capitalism, such representations signal a profound moral ambivalence towards the socio-economic process inherent in capitalist economy. Using a range of examples, from Surinamese zombies to American horror films, it demonstrates the extent to which evil imagery is linked to a fear of excess, particularly in situations where people find themselves, or perceive themselves, to be peripheral to the centers of political, economic, and cultural power.

Paul Clough (1949-2019) was Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Malta.

Jon P. Mitchell is Lecturer in Cultural and Community Studies at the University of Sussex.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Anthropology of Religion Political and Economic Anthropology


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