Witchcraft: A Study in Open and Closed Systems
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From the Paper:"This paper explores the nature of open and closed systems through the practice of witchcraft and social reactions to this practice. It takes as its starting point the claim by the anthropologist Evans-Pritchard that witchcraft is a closed system and it proceeds to challenge this claim, arguing that witchcraft, as a belief system, is indeed an open, not a closed, system. In doing so, it invokes Victor Turner's notion of liminality, demonstrating that witchcraft is essentially liminal in nature and that this feature makes it a fundamentally open system. It also incorporates the concepts of anomaly, defilement produced by anomalies, and the need for purification consequent upon defilement, drawing upon the work of Mary Douglas.By way of illustration, the paper refers to historical examples of accusations of witchcraft in sixteenth-century Europe, in seventeenth-century America in the village of Salem, Massachusetts, and among the Azande in early twentieth-century Sudan. In a wide-ranging survey, the paper contrasts the characteristics of open and closed systems, with special reference to the closed nature of religious belief systems, and, drawing upon Victor Turner's notion of "liminality,"it proposes the view that closed systems are a transitional phase that marks, broadly, the change from one type of open system to another in the overall development of human thought. It concludes with the idea that the physical nature of the natural world suggests that, in terms of society, open systems are more in keeping with the natural order than closed systems, a conclusion that is substantiated by the revival, in the twentieth century,of witchcraft (as an alternative to organized religion) in the form of the neo-Pagan movement."
Cite this Argumentative Essay:
Witchcraft: A Study in Open and Closed Systems (2014, June 25) Retrieved November 20, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/argumentative-essay/witchcraft-a-study-in-open-and-closed-systems-153937/
"Witchcraft: A Study in Open and Closed Systems" 25 June 2014. Web. 20 November. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/argumentative-essay/witchcraft-a-study-in-open-and-closed-systems-153937/>