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Pop goes religion : Harry Potter meets Clifford Geertz

[journal article]

Neumann, Iver B.

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Abstract "The success of the Harry Potter phenomenon may be seen as co-constitutive of the general resurfacing of religion in Europe and the United States. The first part of this article introduces Geertz’s definition of the religious, which includes magic as ‘slippage’. The second part draws on historical work on witchcraft in early-modern Europe to demonstrate that Harry’s world shares so many traits with the lifeworlds of that period that its self-presentation as being an evolved version of those worlds is a credible one. The article speculates that the observable de-differentiation between the religious and consumption of popular culture artefacts such as Harry Potter may herald an individualization of the religious that is of a kind with the individualization of magic observed by Mauss. It is closely tied to the duality between individualized reading and mass-medialized social consumption, and suits the post-sovereign subject." [author's abstract]
Keywords religion
Classification Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature
Free Keywords 17th century; fantasy; Harry Potter; magic; science;
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 81-100
Journal European Journal of Cultural Studies, 9 (2006) 1
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)