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E. E. Evans-Pritchard's Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande

Author: Wheater, Kitty
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 103
Pub Date: 15/07/2017
ISBN: 9781912128525
Availability: Out of Stock
Quick overview Based on 20 months of fieldwork among the Azande people of South Sudan, Evans-Pritchard's work became the founding text in the anthropology of witchcraft. Although the book had little impact when it first appeared in 1937, its popularity grew after World War II and its influence on anthropology is still strong nearly 80 years later.
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The history of anthropology is, to a large extent, the history of differing modes of interpretation.
As anthropologists have long known, examining, analyzing and recording cultures in the quest to understand humankind as a whole is a vastly complex task, in which nothing can be achieved without careful and incisive interpretative work. Edward Evans-Pritchard's seminal 1937 Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande is a model contribution to anthropology's grand interpretative project, and one whose success is based largely on its author's thinking skills. A major issue in anthropology at the time was the common assumption that the faiths and customs of other cultures appeared irrational or illogical when compared to the "civilized" and scientific beliefs of the western world.
Evans-Pritchard sought to challenge such definitions by embedding himself within a tribal culture in Africa - that of the Azande - and attempting to understand their beliefs in their proper contexts. By doing so, Evans-Pritchard proved just how vital context is to interpretation. Seen within their context, he was able to show, the beliefs of the Azande were far from irrational - and magic actually formed a coherent system that helped mould a functional community and society for the tribe. Evans-Pritchard's efforts to clarify meaning in this way have proved hugely influential, and have played a major part in guiding later generations of anthropologists from his day to ours.

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