Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from BN.com
(Save 59%)
Est. Return Date: 08/02/2015
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $12.29
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 55%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $12.29   
  • New (4) from $22.33   
  • Used (8) from $12.29   


Taking the reader into the heart of one of the fastest-growing religious movements in North America, Sabina Magliocco reveals how the disciplines of anthropology and folklore were fundamental to the early development of Neo-Paganism and the revival of witchcraft. Magliocco examines the roots that this religious movement has in a Western spiritual tradition of mysticism disavowed by the Enlightenment. She explores, too, how modern Pagans and Witches are imaginatively reclaiming discarded practices and beliefs to create religions more in keeping with their personal experience of the world as sacred and filled with meaning. Neo-Pagan religions focus on experience, rather than belief, and many contemporary practitioners have had mystical experiences. They seek a context that normalizes them and creates in them new spiritual dimensions that involve change in ordinary consciousness.

Magliocco analyzes magical practices and rituals of Neo-Paganism as art forms that reanimate the cosmos and stimulate the imagination of its practitioners. She discusses rituals that are put together using materials from a variety of cultural and historical sources, and examines the cultural politics surrounding the movement—how the Neo-Pagan movement creates identity by contrasting itself against the dominant culture and how it can be understood in the context of early twenty-first-century identity politics.

Witching Culture is the first ethnography of this religious movement to focus specifically on the role of anthropology and folklore in its formation, on experiences that are central to its practice, and on what it reveals about identity and belief in twenty-first-century North America.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Magliocco impressively corrals the diverse writings and experiences of U.S. neo-pagans into this highly readable and deeply researched ethnographic study. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812218794
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Series: Contemporary Ethnography
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 987,837
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Sabina Magliocco teaches anthropology at California State University, Northridge.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Ethnography of Magic and the Magic of Ethnography

Chapter 1. The Study of Folklore and the Reclamation of Paganism
Chapter 2. Boundaries and Borders: Imagining Community

Chapter 3. Making Magic: Training the Imagination
Chapter 4. Ritual: Between the Worlds
Chapter 5. "The Juice of Ritual": Pathways to Ecstasy

Chapter 6. The Romance of Subdominance: Creating Oppositional Culture
Chapter 7. "The Heart Is the Only Nation": Neo-Paganism, Ethnic Identity and the Construction of Authenticity


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2004

    *Must Have, Double Bag!*

    *Must Have, Double Bag!* is old school comic fandom's term for things that a fan _cannot_ live without--and have any fanboy or fangirl cred in the eyes of her or his fan peers. And a perfect, to-the-point description of this book. Witching Culture is thoughtful, insightful, fruitful, grounded, and, maybe, provocative. Witching Culture is well-crafted and a joy to read. Witching Culture is one of the best ethnographies that I've read in a long time. Magliocco manages to accentuate the participation in her participant-observations, but sustain a vibrant and keen postmodern theoretical analysis at the same time. She takes the reader *there* to a living experience of an alternative culture. Like the Neo-Pagan bricoleurs she discusses, she takes advantage of theories and insights borrowed from a number of disciplines and discourses, putting the mix to good, understanding use. Magliocco considers Neo-Pagan culture to be oppositional to dominant culture, postmodern in its world view at a time when the dominant modern culture offers little beyond materiality, consumerism, alienation, oppression, and spiritual--if not economic--impoverishment. She traces some roots of this oppositionality to sources in the Romantic and European nationalist movements. And provides a good account of Neo-Paganism's cultural creativity in shaping magical ritual, even political action, from these sources, among others. Her approach to the creative and enculturating role that song plays in today's Neo-Paganism alone makes the book worthwhile. Witching Culture is a *Must Have, Double Bag!* book that all of us should be proud to add to our libraries. Note: I am Sabina's friend, and the *Pitch* in the book. All I can assure you is--as an old-school comic guy--if the book sucked, I'd say so. Far from it-- Witching Culture shines bright!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)