Magic: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to magic in world history and contemporary societies. Presenting magic as a global phenomenon which has manifested in all human cultures, this book takes a thematic approach which explores the historical, social, and cultural aspects of magic.
Key features include:
attempts to define magic either in universal or more particular terms, and to contrast it with other broad and potentially fluid categories such as religion and science;
an examination of different forms of magical practice and the purposes for which magic has been used;
debates about magic's effectiveness, its reality, and its morality;
an exploration of magic's association with certain social factors, such as gender, ethnicity and education, among others.
Offering a global perspective of magic from antiquity through to the modern era and including a glossary of key terms, suggestions for further reading and case studies throughout, Magic: The Basics is essential reading for anyone seeking to learn more about the academic study of magic.
Michael D. Bailey is Professor of History at Iowa State University. He is founding co-editor of the journal Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft and has published extensively on the history of witchcraft and superstition in medieval Europe.
Acknowledgements Introduction: A Magical World Chapter 1: The Meanings of Magic Chapter 2: Magical Acts Chapter 3: Magic Contested and Condemned Chapter 4: Magical Identities Chapter 5: The Reality of Magic Chapter 6: Magic in the Modern World Glossary Further Reading