2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

The Functions of Witchcraft in Society
Zoee Matlock
Dr. Amber Johnson, Faculty Mentor

Witchcraft is a subject that is often cloaked in mystery and is in many cases clouded with stereotypes and negative connotations. This research explores witchcraft practices around the world to determine its true function within society. Twenty-four cultures with documented use of witchcraft, from eight regions of the world were examined through ethnographies obtained from the eHRAF database. An analysis of the coded data produced two main patterns dealing with reliance on witchcraft, social conflict, and disease/illness. The most prevalent pattern shows that as the presence of disease and illness increases in a culture so does reliance on witchcraft. The secondary pattern shows that as social conflict increases reliance on witchcraft also increases. This research shows that witchcraft is used to explain phenomena or events, in this case disease and illness, which are difficult to comprehend.

Keywords: witchcraft practices, reliance on witchcraft, social conflict, disease and illness

Topic(s):Anthropology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 1-1
Location: GEO
Time: 3:30

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