By Randall Styers
Because the emergence of non secular reviews and the social sciences as educational disciplines, the concept that of "magic" has performed a massive function in defining faith and in mediating the relation of faith to technological know-how. throughout those disciplines, magic has on a regular basis been configured as a definitively non-modern phenomenon, juxtaposed to tremendously glossy types of faith and technology. but this proposal of magic has remained stubbornly amorphous.In Making Magic, Randall Styers seeks to account for the intense power of scholarly discourse purporting to outline and clarify magic regardless of its failure to just do that. He argues that this patience can top be defined in mild of the Western force to set up and safe detailed norms for contemporary identification, norms in accordance with slim varieties of instrumental rationality, industrious hard work, rigidly outlined sexual roles, and the containment of wayward types of hope. Magic has served to designate a kind of alterity or deviance opposed to which dominant Western notions of applicable spiritual piety, valid clinical rationality, and orderly social family are introduced into aid. students have came upon magic a useful software of their efforts to outline the perfect barriers of faith and technological know-how. On a broader point, says Styers, magical considering has served as an incredible foil for modernity itself. Debates over the character of magic have provided a very wealthy web site at which students have labored to outline and to contest the character of modernity and norms for all times within the smooth international.
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Extra info for Making Magic: Religion, Magic, and Science in the Modern World (Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion)
95 This link between geography and human culture would persist as an important undercurrent in theories of magic even after the eclipse of such overt racial theorizing. Enlightenment race theorists also came to stress the relation between anatomy and psychology, and they began a move from earlier notions of environmentalism toward the “neurological” concept of racial difference that was to predominate in the nineteenth century. In keeping with the emerging materialism of the eighteenth century, the predominant Enlightenment racial paradigm emphasized visible anatomical characteristics, a focus implying that behavior could be explained largely through recourse to physiology.
By this point, Europe's industrialization gave it profound advantages in armaments and transportation. Edward Said underscores the sweep of European conquest through this period: In 1800 Western powers claimed 55 percent but actually held approximately 35 percent of the earth's surfaceby 1878 the proportion was 67 percent, a rate of increase of 83,000 square miles per year. By 1914, the annual rate had risen to an astonishing 240,000 square miles, and Europe held a grand total of roughly 85 percent of the earth as colonies, protectorates, dependencies, dominions, and commonwealths.
In this context, I turn to examine the emergence of modern theorizing about religion and magic. Theories of Religion and Religious Evolution One of the significant aspects of the Enlightenment critique of revealed religion was a new interest among European scholars in the analysis of religion from a comparative perspective. In the period from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, new information had arrived in Europe about various cultural practices in the non-European world. The voyages and conquests of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries prompted more sustained European interest in the range of human cultural systems, and during this period the new notion of “religion” as a cross-cultural aspect of human society took hold.
Making Magic: Religion, Magic, and Science in the Modern World (Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion) by Randall Styers