Witchcraft, Violence, and Democracy in South Africa / Edition 1

Witchcraft, Violence, and Democracy in South Africa / Edition 1

by Adam Ashforth
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226029743

ISBN-13: 9780226029740

Pub. Date: 01/15/2005

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

How does democracy fare when the people governed insist they live in a world with witches? If the government of a people afflicted by witchcraft refuses to punish witches, how does it avoid becoming alienated from the perceived needs of its people or, worse, seen as being in league with witches? In Soweto, South Africa, the constant threat of violent crime, the

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Overview

How does democracy fare when the people governed insist they live in a world with witches? If the government of a people afflicted by witchcraft refuses to punish witches, how does it avoid becoming alienated from the perceived needs of its people or, worse, seen as being in league with witches? In Soweto, South Africa, the constant threat of violent crime, the increase in black socio-economic inequality, the AIDS pandemic, and a widespread fear of witchcraft have converged to create a pervasive sense of insecurity among citizens and a unique public policy problem for government.

In Witchcraft, Violence, and Democracy in South Africa, Adam Ashforth examines how people in Soweto and other parts of post-apartheid South Africa manage their fear of 'evil forces' such as witchcraft. Ashforth examines the dynamics of insecurity in the everyday life of Soweto at the turn of the twenty-first century. He develops a new framework for understanding occult violence as a form of spiritual insecurity and documents new patterns of interpretation attributing agency to evil forces. Finally, he analyzes the response of post-apartheid governments to issues of spiritual insecurity and suggests how these matters pose severe long-term challenges to the legitimacy of the democratic state.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226029740
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
01/15/2005
Edition description:
1
Pages:
376
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

1Spiritual insecurity and political power7
2Dimensions of insecurity in contemporary Soweto20
3On living in a world with witches63
4Freedom, democracy, and witchcraft : Soweto in the 1990s88
5On believing, and not believing, in witchcraft111
6Poison, medicine, and the power of secret knowledge133
7Death, pollution, and the dangers of dirt154
8A brief history of the spirit world170
9Invisible beings in everyday life194
10Vulnerabilities of the soul223
11Witchcraft, violence, and justice243
12Democratic statecraft in a world of witches279
App. 1The literature on Soweto - a brief excursus319
App. 2The Thohoyandou Declaration on Ending Witchcraft Violence, issued by the Commission on Gender Equality325

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