9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Cultural Diversity Building II, C4.08

Magic as a social institution and the mechanisms of its "self-defense"

The culture of modernity is substantially built upon scientific and technological achievements. But doest it mean that we have reached the ?disenchantment? of the world? Has everything we know (or would like to know) and deal with become transparent and predictable? In other words, have we managed to eliminate all the magic from the cultural sphere? Hardly. On the contrary, many authors point out that uncertainty, risks and virtualization are on a global scale one of the most significant features of modern life. So, maybe we live in ?a new magical epoch??
Within this ?current cultural situation?, I?d like to highlight and subject to initial sociological analysis the fact of magic?s persistence. This supposes addressing two significant issues.
The first is: since we want to analyze magic from a sociological perspective, it would be quite logical to decide, with which concept it stands most closely. In my paper, I intend to propose studying magic as a social institution. Science and religion are often observed as social institutions and in this light it may seem a bit surprising that magic, the third and perhaps the most ancient element of ?the classic triad? (magic, religion and science) still hasn?t been considered consistently in this way.
And the second issue would be to give an outline to means by which magic still dwells in our world. What occurs when magic fails? And how such failures are ?fixed??
Shortly speaking, an attempt will be taken to demonstrate how ?self-defense? of a certain cultural phenomenon is being performed.