Magic: A Problem in Semantics
Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009
1970 American Anthropological Association
Volume 72, Issue 6, pages 1349–1356, December 1970
How to Cite
Hammond, D. (1970), Magic: A Problem in Semantics. American Anthropologist, 72: 1349–1356. doi: 10.1525/aa.1970.72.6.02a00080
- Issue published online: 28 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009
- Accepted for publication 20 November 1969.
- theory, history of
Anthropologists, from Tylor to the present, have so defined magic that, although it might shade into or overlap with religion, it is a separate phenomenon distinct from religion. Theorists have made different features the chief means of differentiation, but no matter how defined the distinction cannot be easily or consistently maintained. This paper suggests that the concept of magic as a distinct entity is the factitious result of ethnocentric classification, and that magic should be included within religion as one type of the practices of which religious ritual is composed.