The practices of witchcraft have been around for many centuries. It was said that men in early times used the idea of magic to pay respects to the gods that ruled and brought forth an easier life. Magic was used mostly by shamans, medicine people, and witches to call the powers of the gods to help grow crops and bring water. Magic was used more often when times were hard and grew from the craziness of bad weather and little food supplies. These people who performed witchcraft would do rituals and cast spells to help call the upon the gods. Over time the use of witches and witchcraft turned sour and people were seeing less and less of them. “Witches, who were primarily women, were originally seen as wise healers whom could both …show more content…
“Anthropologists have long been aware that the social production and meaning of witchcraft is an evasive issue that defies easy analysis” (Teppo, 2006). Many anthropologists such as Wilson, Gluckman, and Douglas are a few of the most known theories and they all have come to a similar conclusion and explained witchcraft as a “downside of social relations, or a product of social tension, which is constantly able to renew itself within global modernity” (Ashforth, 2000). Ashforth believes this theory as well and continues to base his research on the social aspects of witchcraft and how it affects the people of the community. There are three main points to this ethnography that I believe Ashforth was trying to examine. The first point I believe is researched is the lives of the residents in Soweto, and how their insecurities impact their belief in witchcraft. It seems that many residents use the topic of jealousy as the main source of witchcraft and that it only increased when the inequality among blacks in South Africa increased. The newly democratized society enabled some residents to move up to the middle class, while others remained in poverty stricken areas, this lead to the jealousy issues that increased the presence of witchcraft. The second point is the different aspects and potential causes of insecurities of the residents of Soweto. Establishing the knowledge of spiritual insecurity offered an arguable foundation of witchcraft and why
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This article is about witchcraft and its different varieties of practices in different cultures. This article explains how witchcraft exists and plays an essential part in structural and functional aspects of a society. It also sheds the light on the journey of witchcraft from being profane and wicked to acceptable part of a culture.
It is important to understand the meaning of witchcraft to be able to identify what caused the massive witch-hunt in Europe. During the medieval to the early modern period witchcraft was identified as the practice of harmful, black or maleficent magic caused by a witch (Levack, 1987, p. 4). They also describe them as evildoers that associate with the Devil, kidnap children, and murder others. These accusations were untrue rumors made by the Catholic Church to promote Christianity and punish those who did not follow the church beliefs. (Levack, 1987, p. 7)
In such a field, the lesser agents of misfortune, the witches could flourish” (Ashforth, p. 102). Furthermore, with high unemployment rates and pervasive poverty, jealousy was seen as the principle motivator for the practice of witchcraft. In the same interview, Madumo continues, “It’s also about jobs. It’s the lack of jobs that’s contributed to the high volume of witchcraft. Because if someone is having a job, then his neighbors become jealous and will witch him so as to make him lose that job” (Ashforth, p. 102). Madumo cites these societal circumstances as a sociological causation for the rise of purported witchcraft.
The books thesis is based on why a person was accused of being a witch and the relative circumstances thereof. Marital status, sex, community standing, wealth, and relationships with others all play an important part of a person chances of being accused of being a witch.
In addition to all of this, Karleson has established statistically, that women who were married but had no children, women who were married but had only daughters, and finally women who were daughters of parents who had no male offspring were more vulnerable to cause of witchcraft. (Page 101) What this shows is the clear linkage of economic interest and the importance of
For my ethnography paper, I analyzed Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America by Sabina Magliocco. This book is part of a series among other ethnography books. Witching Culture is an ethnography about a religious movement in North America. This religious movement is Neo-Paganism and witchcraft, which are basically the same thing. In the book, Magliocco describes how anthropology and folklore are important aspects to the religious movement. She explores the different practices and beliefs of modern Pagans, as well as witches. There were three major themes that stood out to me the most. These themes were the nature of religion, the nature of the religious world, and the types of authority in the book.
2. Why did the defense attorneys for Lila Jimerson and Nancy Bowen, defendants in the 1930 Buffalo, NY murder trials of Clothilde Marchand, use witchcraft as part of their legal strategy to keep their clients from being executed in New York state for Second degree murder? How did these attorneys demonstrate that Henri Marchand, husband of the deceased Mrs. Clothilde Marchand, was involved in this ‘witchcraft scenario’ though he strenuously denied it during the trials? Include material from “The Red Lilac of the Cayugas: Traditional Indian Laws and Culture Conflict in a Witchcraft Trial in Buffalo, New York, 1930” by Sidney Harring in Spellbound, edited by Elizabeth Reis in your essay.
The witchcraft phenomenon of the Renaissance period was shaped by a wide range of cultural factors; witchcraft was not necessarily subject to a single cohesive idea or concept, and it was often instead a conglomeration of many different societal concerns, concerns which spanned through all spheres of society. Textual evidence from this period provides insight into the way in which witches were conceived, and how witches were dealt with, while visual images present a companion visualisation of the tensions, which influenced created the witch, and the imagery, which came to be associated with witchcraft.
Prior to the fifteenth century, rural European women were highly revered and respected pillars of rural community life; not only considered mothers and wives, but seen as community leaders, physicians, and sources of strength and wisdom. Women had a special and imperative role in rural life, and even those that lived on the fringes of society were well respected as the village healers and wise women. These old women would possess the wisdom of the ages and pass it on to others. This respect for women quickly deteriorated, however, during the witch hunts. The belief spread that women were morally weaker than men and driven by carnal lust, therefore making them more susceptible to being tempted by the Devil, and thus practicing witchcraft. (Levack p. 126) As people took this belief to heart, it is apparent that society would be affected indefinitely by such intolerance.
The concept of witchcraft and the belief in its existence has existed since the dawn of human history. It has been present or central at various times, and in many diverse forms, among cultures and religions worldwide, including both "primitive" and "highly advanced" cultures, and continues to have an important role in many cultures today.
I don’t know about you, but for me so far, all of our author’s attempts to get an explanation about what witchcraft is has failed. We know that witchcraft is the cause of misfortunes and personal injury sustained by the Azande people through what they believe to be no fault of their own, but I think we have yet to have any understanding of what causes witchcraft itself. Where does it come from, who causes it, and is it in any way like a sort of karma believed to be punishment for bad deeds like in eastern philosophies? I think we need to take a deeper look into witchcraft and what the Azande people are actually talking about, because from what I’ve gathered so far, the Azande believe that witchcraft is an unexplained phenomena of independent events that in no way should have had any reason to take place simultaneously
According to William A. Haviland, one of the authors of Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge, states that the older the person is in the tribe the greater the chances of being accused as well as being a model of a bad person or failure also increases the chances of being accused of witchcraft. This example shows the “intergenerational hostility” in an ever changing environment, where the youngsters of the tribe are disrespecting and mistreating the elders of the tribe (Haviland, 2008, pg. 330).
The Enlightenment and the emerging of modern rationalism have paved the way to a worldview where the suspicion of witchcraft is not needed to explain the mysterious phenomena of this world. This is not the case in Africa. The belief in the existence of witches, evil persons who are able to harm others by using mystical powers, is part of the common cultural knowledge. Samuel Waje Kunhiyop states, “Almost all African societies believe in witchcraft in one form or another. Belief in witchcraft is the traditional way of explaining the ultimate cause of evil, misfortune or death.” The African worldview is holistic. In this perception, things do not just happen. What happens, either good or bad, is traced back to human action,
Witchcraft has become a phenomenon in the last few years, launching TV shows and movies onto the screens of televisions. It has become an inspirational topic for writers to launch their next book. But as entertaining as witchcraft maybe to us, it is feared by the Ibibio tribe in Nigeria. This paper will focus on the different aspects of the witchcraft of the Ibibio tribe including the tribe’s way of detecting, preventing, and the anti-witch hunt that put the tribe in the spotlight. Also, this paper will touch on the causations of the witchcraft epidemic.