Magic's Reason: An Anthropology of Analogy

University of Chicago Press
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In Magic’s Reason, Graham M. Jones tells the entwined stories of anthropology and entertainment magic. The two pursuits are not as separate as they may seem at first. As Jones shows, they not only matured around the same time, but they also shared mutually reinforcing stances toward modernity and rationality. It is no historical accident, for example, that colonial ethnographers drew analogies between Western magicians and native ritual performers, who, in their view, hoodwinked gullible people into believing their sleight of hand was divine.

Using French magicians’ engagements with North African ritual performers as a case study, Jones shows how magic became enshrined in anthropological reasoning. Acknowledging the residue of magic’s colonial origins doesn’t require us to dispense with it. Rather, through this radical reassessment of classic anthropological ideas, Magic’s Reason develops a new perspective on the promise and peril of cross-cultural comparison.
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About the author

Graham M. Jones is associate professor of anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of Trade of the Tricks: Inside the Magician’s Craft.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Dec 6, 2017
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780226518718
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / General
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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NOTE: This edition does not include color images.
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