Powers of Good and Evil: Social Transformation and Popular Belief

Powers of Good and Evil: Social Transformation and Popular Belief


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Powers of Good and Evil: Social Transformation and Popular Belief by Paul Clough, Salvatore Ciriacono

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571813138
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/30/2001
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

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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