Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion

Perspectives in the Media (Third Edition)
Edited by Liam D. Murphy
©2022, 156 pages

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Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion

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    Western culture is saturated with ideas drawn from longstanding patterns of popular belief as well as formal religious institutions. In an age that many consider secular, sensationalist stories about inexplicable supernatural events are shared consistently in the media. The occult, mythology, vampires, zombies, ghosts, apparitions, and paranormal activity are but a few of the supernatural or cosmological themes and images that are felt in everyday life.

    Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion: Perspectives in the Media explores and analyzes coverage of supernatural and religious phenomena and themes within the media, with emphasis on their impact on society. The selected readings illustrate how classic observations and theory made by social and cultural anthropologists have real-world application in everyday American life.

    The third edition features 22 new readings, which address an array of topics, including mass shootings and religion; superheroes as anti-myths; magic-inspired beauty routines; zombies in pop culture; progressive occultism; the intersection of witchcraft and gun control; and more.

    Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion is an ideal supplemental text for courses that explore the anthropology of religion, pop culture in the media, and sociology.

    Liam D. Murphy is Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Sacramento. He holds a B.A. from Saint Mary’s University, M.A. from the University of Calgary, and Ph.D. from Yale University. He has authored articles and research papers on religion, politics, and identity, published in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Ritual Studies, Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, Anthropology in Action, and Anthropological Journal of European Cultures. He is the coauthor (with Paul A. Erickson) of A History of Anthropological Theory and co-editor (with Paul A. Erickson) of Readings for a History of Anthropological Theory. A specialist on religion in Northern Ireland, Murphy is the author of Believing in Belfast: Charismatic Christianity after the Troubles. His current ethnographic research looks at occult symbolism and heavy metal music in contemporary France.
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