IMAGINING EVIL : Witchcraft Beliefs and Accusations in Contemporary Africa (Religion in Contemporary Africa Series)

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9781592214853: IMAGINING EVIL : Witchcraft Beliefs and Accusations in Contemporary Africa (Religion in Contemporary Africa Series)
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Here is a book on witchcraft written mostly by Africans - scholars, but also human rights activists and religious practitioners. It discusses witchcraft beliefs and accusations in various parts of sub-Saharan Africa where these phenomena pose a serious problem today. It cuts across divisions of class, age and gender. By focusing on the fact that witchcraft accusations may result in violent death, the 12 contributors concentrate on witchcraft as an actual threat to society and to the psychology of individuals.

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Synopsis:

Punishing the dark arts. Witchcraft in the context of this study is a way of imagining and projecting evil. A belief in this kind of witchcraft is strong and widespread across the African continent - so much so that many commentators have suggested a significant increase in accusations of witchcraft in Africa in recent years. Alarmingly, a common feature of witchcraft accusation is the lynching or killing of the accused. As a comment on witchcraft beliefs and accusations in contemporary Africa, "Imagining Evil" is distinguished from work in the same field in two major ways. Firstly, the fact that most of its contributors are scholars living and working in Africa brings an acuteness of observation - often based on actual lived experience rather than academic involvement alone. And second, the interest of the authors in this volume is defined not defined only by scholarly insight, but also - even primarily - by the painful knowledge of the human suffering caused by witchcraft accusations.

By focusing on the fact that witchcraft accusations may result in violent death, the twelve contributors to "Imagining Evil" concentrate on witchcraft as an actual threat both to society and the psychology of individuals. In this context, witchcraft creates a climate of fear - a climate that policy makers are urged to consider in the hope that a solution can be found before more innocent people die.

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