9780313237805 / 0313237808

Exorcising the Trouble Makers: Magic, Science, and Culture (Contributions in Afro-American & African Studies)


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Publisher:Praeger, 1983



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About the book:

The very human need for religion and magic as supplements to scientific and technological knowledge is the subject of this work. In 1942 Hsu witnessed a cholera epidemic in a small rural settlement in Yunnan province, China, and found that, contrary to anthropological expectations, the Chinese responded to the crisis with a combination of conciliatory rituals and practical hygienic measures. More than thirty years later, he witnessed the elaborate ritualistic prepartions for another epidemic in the Shatin sub-division of Hong Kong and found the supernatural/empirical response to be virtually the same as in 1942. The author argues that, in spite of technological and intellectual sophistication, the human psychic need for magic and religion persists. He pursues this contention in a longitudinal analysis of this phenomenon in the South Seas, East Africa, and Indian and white America.

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