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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 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (June 2001)

eISBN 978-1-78238-756-5 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   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† 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


List of Illustrations

Jon P. Mitchell

Chapter 1. Dangerous Creatures and the Enchantment of Modern Life
Bonno Thoden van Velzen and Ineke van Wetering

Chapter 2. Witchcraft and New Forms of Wealth: Regional Variations in South and West Cameroon
Peter Geschiere

Chapter 3. The Devil, Satanism and the Evil Eye in Contemporary Malta
Jon P. Mitchell

Chapter 4. 'You Devil, Go Away from Me!' Pentecostalist African Christianity and the Powers of Good and Evil
Birgit Meyer

Chapter 5. Modernity, Crisis, and the Rise of Charismatic Catholicism in Maltese Islands
Nadia Theuma

Chapter 6. Good, Evil and Godhood: Mormon Morality in the Material World
Hildi J. Mitchell

Chapter 7. The State and the Empire of Evil
Jojada Verrips

Chapter 8. The Iconography of Evil in Maltese Art
Isabelle Borg

Conclusions: The Political Economy behind the Powers of Good and Evil
Paul Clough


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