Author: Sabina Magliocco
Hardcover, 280 pages
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Publication date: 2004
Price & More Info: Click Here
"Must Have, Double Bag!" is old school comic fandom's term for
things that a fan cannot live without -- and have any fanboy or
fangirl cred in the eyes of her or his fan peers.
And a perfect, to-the-point description of this book.
Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America is written
by a Gardnerian and Reclaiming practitioner who also happens to
be a skillful folklorist and anthropologist, Magliocco is
presently an associate professor at California State University,
Witching Culture is thoughtful, insightful, fruitful, grounded,
and, maybe, provocative.
Witching Culture is well-crafted and a joy to read.
Witching Culture is one of the best ethnographies that I've read
in a long time.Magliocco manages to accentuate the participation
in her participant-observations, but sustain a vibrant and keen
postmodern theoretical analysis at the same time. She takes the
reader there to a living experience of an alternative culture.
She addresses a broad range of topics shaping and challenging
Neo-Paganism,especially Craft in the San Francisco Bay Area, from
how magic is envisioned as a working relationship with world and
deities to ritual art and artistry to Neo-Pagan shopping habits
to identity construction and cultural borrowing, and more. Like
the Neo-Pagan bricoleurs she discusses, she takes advantage of
theories and insights borrowed from a number of disciplines and
discourses, putting the mix to good, understanding use.
Magliocco considers Neo-Pagan culture to be oppositional to
dominant culture, postmodern in its world view at a time when the
dominant modern culture offers little beyond materiality,
consumerism, alienation, oppression, and spiritual--if not
economic--impoverishment. She traces some roots of this
oppositionality to sources in the Romantic and European
nationalist movements. And provides a good account of Neo-
Paganism's cultural creativity in shaping magical ritual, even
political action, from these sources, among others.
Her approach to the creative and enculturating role that song
plays in today's Neo-Paganism alone makes the book worthwhile.
Witching Culture is a "Must Have, Double Bag!" book that all of
us should be proud to add to our libraries.
Note: I am Sabina's friend, and the "Pitch" in the book. All I
can assure you is -- as an old-school comic guy--if the book
sucked, I'd say so. Far from it -- Witching Culture shines bright!
Reviewed by Pitch