Occultism in Global Perspective – an anthropologist’s review

9781844657162-Case.inddGordan Djurdjevic just spread a link to a review of the book he edited with Henrik Bogdan on Occultism in Global Perspective. I found it interesting enough to mention here because the review was written by anthropologist Jack David Eller in Anthropology Review Database. This is a good sign for those of us who want to see more collaboration between esotericism scholars and anthropologists. Eller clearly agrees with this from the anthropological side, concluding that:

Occultism in a Global Perspective is a book of profound significance for anthropologists, despite the fact that none of its contributors are anthropologists. Indeed, other than the Comaroff’s work on “occult economies” (which does not take ‘the occult’ particularly seriously), anthropologists have paid fairly little attention to occultism, which is strange and unfortunate. These essays illustrate that occultism is a widely practiced congeries of ideas and rituals, and occultism clearly raises issues of syncretism, globalization, and the porosity if not inadequacy of standard categories like ‘religion.’ Hopefully this collection will inspire more research and theorizing on occultism, esotericism, and such modern forms of vernacular religion, psychology, and social change.

Kennet Granholm and I made a parallel argument for our Contemporary Esotericism volume, which included a call to esotericism scholars taking anthropology more seriously.

Read the whole review of Occultism in Global Perspective here.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I recently had occasion in Oxford to converse with a Doctor of Anthropology from Ethiopia, who surprised me by expanding just how controversial so much mainstream anthropology is from an indigenous cultural perspective. I had also not long previous, been introduced to the work of David H. Price about the way anthropological discourse has been framed historically in the service of the state, and its discipline has been deployed to support questionable political agendas…qv

    There are clearly very important issues that are addressed here. I am now awaiting a copy of this book, and anticipate that it may be a suitably thought-provoking & useful introduction for those of us who would delve deeper into more radical interpretations of anthropological theory and “praxis.”


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