SOCA1030 Week 7 Religion and Re-enchantment

What is enchantment? What does Weber mean by dis-enchantment?
Weber argued that monotheistic religions began the disenchantment process by marginalizing magic which was dominant in pre-modern societies. Weber argued that modernity would restrict enchantment, magic and non-rational ways of knowing the world from religious practice and everyday life.
In a disenchanted world, Weber argued, ‘the ultimate and most sublime values have retreated from public life’; the magical, ‘mysterious incalculable forces’ give way to ‘calculation’, ‘scientific rationalism and bureaucracy’. It is a world in which the sky is emptied of angels”. Wallis 2006, p 32 (cited in Possamai, p96)

Re-enchantment is another way to think about responses to the over-rationalisation of social life. Re-enchantment is evident in the development of new esoteric groups (eg Theosophy, Spiritualism); the spiritual dimensions of popular culture (Teenage Witchcraft); the challenge to scientific thinking and rationality (eg the creationism vs evolution debate). Possamai refers to re-enchantment from below because it is concerned with the aestheticization or magicalization of everyday life.

Acknowledgements: google images for pictures above.

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Emma Quilty


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