Powers of Good and Evil: Commodity, Morality and Popular Belief

Overview

"... 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, ...

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Overview

"... 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 is Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Malta.

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571813138
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Pages: 266
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Salvatore Ciriacono teaches Modern History at the University of Padua. He was fellow several times by the Max-Planck Institut für Geschichte in Göttingen (Germany) and visiting Professor in Paris (Maison des Sciences de l'Homme), Boston University and Tokyo-Komaba. Taught at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris. He is author of La rivoluzione industriale. Dalla protoindustrializzazione alla produzione flessibile (Milan 2000) and editor of Eau et développement dans l'Europe moderne (Paris 2004) and Land Drainage and Irrigation (London 1998).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
1 Dangerous Creatures and the Enchantment of Modern Life 17
2 Witchcraft and New forms of Wealth: Regional Variations in South and West Cameroon 43
3 The Devil, Satanism and the Evil Eye in Contemporary Malta 77
4 'You Devil, Go Away From Me!' Pentecostalist African Christianity and the Powers of Good and Evil 104
5 Modernity, Crisis and the Rise of Charismatic Catholicism in the Maltese Islands 135
6 Good, Evil and Godhood: Mormon Morality in the Material World 161
7 The State and the Empire of Evil 185
8 The Iconography of Evil in Maltese Art 210
Conclusions: The Political Economy behind the Powers of Good and Evil 233
Index 253
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