20.6.17

Magical Socialism

Alexandra Cotofana, James M. Nyce, Religion and Magic in Socialist and Post-Socialist Contexts - Historic and Ethnographic Case Studies of Orthodoxy, Heterodoxy, and Alternative Spirituality. Columbia University Press. (22 Jun. 2017)

Religion and magic have played important roles within Eastern European societies where social reality and socio-political balance may differ greatly from those in the West. Although often thought of as being two distinct, even antagonistic forces, religion and magic find ways to work together. By taking on various examples in the multicultural settings of post-Soviet and post-socialist spaces, this collection brings together diverse historical and ethnographic analyses of orthodoxy and heterodoxy from the pre- and post-1989 periods, studies on the relationship of religious and state institutions to individuals practicing alternative forms of spirituality, and examples of borderlands as spaces of ambiguity. This volume is at the crossroads of anthropology, history, as well as cultural memory studies. Its archival and field research findings help understand how repurposing religious and magic practices worked into the transition that countries in Eastern Europe and beyond have experienced after the end of the Cold War.