Spirits in Culture, History and Mind reintegrates spirits into comparative theories of religion, which have tended to focus on institutionalized forms of belief associated with gods. It brings an historical perspective to culturally patterned experiences with spirits, and examines spirits as a locus of tension between traditional and foreign values. Taking as a point of departure shifting local views of self, nine case studies drawn from Pacific societies analyze religious phenomena at the intersection of social, psychological and historical processes. The varied approaches taken in these case studies provide a richness of perspective, with each lens illuminating different aspects of spirit-related experience. All, however, bring a sense of historical process to bear on psychological and symbolic approaches to religion, shedding new light on the ways spirits relate to other cultural phenomena.
About the Author:
Jeannette Mageo is Assistant Professor at Washington State University. Alan Howard is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii.