A General Theory of Magic

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Psychology Press, 2001 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 183 pages
First written by Marcel Mauss and Henri Humbert in 1902, A General Theory of Magic gained a wide new readership when republished by Mauss in 1950. As a study of magic in 'primitive' societies and its survival today in our thoughts and social actions, it represents what Claude LÚvi-Strauss called, in an introduction to that edition, the astonishing modernity of the mind of one of the century's greatest thinkers. The book offers a fascinating snapshot of magic throughout various cultures as well as deep sociological and religious insights still very much relevant today. At a period when art, magic and science appear to be crossing paths once again, A General Theory of Magic presents itself as a classic for our times.
 

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Contents

SOURCES AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
14
A DEFINITION OF MAGIC
22
THE ELEMENTS OF MAGIC
31
2 THE ACTIONS
55
3 REPRESENTATIONS
75
4 GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
106
AN ANALYSIS AND EXPLANATION OF MAGIC
112
1 BELIEF
113
2 AN ANALYSIS OF IDEOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS CONCERNING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF RITUAL
120
3 MANA
133
4 COLLECTIVE STATES AND COLLECTIVE FORCES
150
CONCLUSION
174
INDEX
179
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About the author (2001)

Marcel Mauss (1872 - 1950) French anthropologist and sociologist, author of The Gift, and, with Emile Durkheim, Primitive Classification.

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