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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Rethinking religion, magic and witchcraft in South Africa: from colonial coherence to postcolonial conundrum
Author:Wallace, Dale
Periodical:Journal for the Study of Religion (ISSN 1011-7601)
Geographic term:South Africa
Abstract:Religion, magic and witchcraft are conceptual, socially constructed categories, the boundaries of which have been contested under diverse religious, cultural and intellectual conditions in the west. This paper focuses firstly on the polemical relationship between religion and magic in the context of colonial south Africa, namely, the historical factors that privileged the category religion and the multiple effects of the social and legal imposition of western epistemologies on colonised communities whose practices constituted 'magic', and, therefore, were synonymous with 'witchcraft'. Secondly, examples of strategies to reinforce the religion/magic dichotomy, to collapse their subjective boundaries, and the complexity witchcraft discourses bring to both positions are provided in the context of the religious and cultural hybridity of postcolonial south Africa. A parallel discussion is on the influence Christian and Enlightenment thought had on category construction in the study of religion and questions the extent to which Religion Studies today engages in decolonising the categories religion, magic and witchcraft in ways that do not contradict religious realities in South African society. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]