Role of ritual in the context of representations of supernatural harm
The study focuses on a function of magical practices used in an unwitching procedure. The argument is based on Malinowskiś classical anthropological theory and cognitive and psychological studies of religion. The author uses ethnographic data from a long-term field research in Serbia where she investigated representations of witchcraft and sorcery beliefs are usually interpreted as explanations of misfortune. The author assumes that apart from that, they offer certain solutions of people´s problems. If an individual defines their situation in supernatural terms, the solution is also supernatural. In this context, specialists with supernatural abilities play an important role – they state what is going on and suggest solution. Unwitching procedure is highly ritualized activity. The author assumes that this procedure may be a form of emotionally driven coping strategy. At the same time, it may be perceived as effective just because the presence of an agent with supernatural abilities.
Fakulta sociálnych a ekonomických vied UK v Bratislave, Mlynské luhy 47, 821 05 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
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