Making Magic

Making Magic : Religion, Magic, and Science in the Modern World

3.83 (18 ratings by Goodreads)
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Since the emergence of religious studies and the social sciences as academic disciplines, the idea of "magic" has played a major role in defining religion and in mediating the relation of religion to science. Across these disciplines, magic has regularly been configured as a definitively non-modern phenomenon, juxtaposed to the distinctly modern models of religion and science. As a category, however, magic has remained stubbornly amorphous. In Making Magic, Randall Styers seeks to account for the extraordinary vitality of scholarly discourse purporting to define and explain magic despite its failure to do just that. He argues that it can best be explained in light of the European and Euro-American drive to establish and secure their own identity as normative: rational-scientific, judicial-ethical, industrious, productive, and heterosexual. Magic has served to designate a form of alterity or deviance against which dominant Western notions of appropriate religious piety, legitimate scientific rationality, and orderly social relations are brought into more

Product details

  • Paperback | 297 pages
  • 156 x 234.7 x 22.1mm | 435.46g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195169417
  • 9780195169416
  • 1,022,975

Review quote

Magic has always been a marginal, umbrageous subject. Despite numerous attempts, no philosopher, scientific observer, or cultural theoretician has managed to describe its essential nature or to circumscribe its proper boundaries-and no wonder. The virtue of Randall Styers compelling study is not that it finally succeeds in defining magic with clarity-an impossible and patently misguided objective. Instead, through a meticulous and incisive examination of the major and minor writers on the subject, Styers shows that the highly pliable, always shifty, devious, and problematic category of magic has been an extremely effective device with which to define and to empower that which it is not: religion proper, (real) science, rationality, modernity. The result, then, is far from marginal. * Tomoko Masuzawa, University of Michigan *show more

Rating details

18 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 22% (4)
4 44% (8)
3 28% (5)
2 6% (1)
1 0% (0)
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