The book “Magic of the State”, written by Michael Taussig, is a combination of creative fiction and ethnographic writing. It is a book discussing many of the real world’s problems and trends, while presenting them in the form of a fictional state (Taussig, 2013). It is difficult to pinpoint what the book is exactly about, but the primary themes are power and magic in the social sphere. The work talks about the systems of oppression and dominance that underpin many of today’s nations, including the discriminatory actions committed against non-white peoples.
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Author employs an interesting and novel approach to the study of society. The major difference between this work and a regular ethnographic fieldwork comes from the presentation. The subjects central to the discussion are distilled in their essence and somewhat separated from their real-life counterparts. At the same time, the process seeks to highlight the ethnographic trends and influences seen throughout the modern world.
The writing is also relevant to the current course subject of early religions. The portrayal of society in the book makes striking parallels to nation-states and governments that existed in the past. Early religions much more frequently employed the concepts of the magical and the mystical, seeing them as part of everyday life. The book, then, showcases that even in the more contemporary setting, humans were not able to separate themselves from magical types of thinking. Societies organized today are similar to those of the past in their relationship to the supernatural, even while the aforementioned concept is rarely used. In addition, early religions had a much more obvious relationship with governance, leadership, and power. Despite the separation of faith and state in many societies, the influence of religion is still maintained. The author’s work makes both of these factors the central subject of discussion.
Taussig, M. (2013). Magic of the State. Routledge.