Academic Papers: Human Rights

Magic and Witchcraft Implications for Democratisation and Poverty-Alleviating Aid in Africa

The belief in occult forces is still deeply rooted in many African societies, regardless of education, religion, and social class of the people concerned. According to many Africans its incidence is even increasing due to social stress and strain caused (among others) by the  process of modernization. This paper looks into how magic and witchcraft accusations work to the disadvantage of the poor and deprived, but under particular circumstances they become a means of the poor in the struggle against oppression by establishing “cults of counter-violence”.

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Albinism, Witchcraft and Superstition in East Africa

This paper looks at profuse media reports and discourse on the plight of Persons with Albinism (PWA) in East Africa in the recent times raise the question of livelihood security of a minority group. PWA constitutes a group of people that are marginalised and discriminated owing to cultural perspective of biological condition. The present study draws on the social exclusion theory to characterise the social, cultural, and economic aspects of daily life struggles among PWA in East Africa.

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‘Witch-hunting’ in India: Do We Need Special Laws?

Partners for Law in Development in Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh invetigate laws that need to be put in place to combat witchcraft accusations. The scholarly article shows the barriers in dealing with witch-hunting and related forms of violence. Mehra claims that there needs to be a focus on accountability and reform of the agencies that activate the criminal justice system.

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In-laws and outlaws: black magic among Pakistani migrants in Denmark

This article analyzes the suspicions of kala jaddu, also referred to as black magic, present within the Pakistani immigrant community in Demark. 

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Destroying the Destroyer of your Destiny: The Role(s) of Pentecostalism in Post-War Liberia

Heaner evaluates the socio-political role of Pentecostalism in Liberia, Africa. Heaner analyzes the growth of the Pentecostal churches within post-conflict settings of nearly total social, economic, educational and political collapse in Liberia.

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Contemporary Practices of Witch Hunting: A Report on Social trends and the interface with law

Many states such as Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa, have had concerns expressed about the targeting of women as ‘witches’, or what is widely called ‘witch hunting’. This report addresses social trends, norms, and acceptance of making women targets for such accusation and persecution. It discusses the consequences of “witch-hunting” and laws that have been put into place to combat it.

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21st Century Witchcraft Accusations

Being accused of witchcraft, black magic or other forms of evil, can result in serious violations of human rights including, at the most extreme, torture and death. This happens all around the world. Women, children, the disabled and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to these forms of abuse.

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Witches’ wealth: witchcraft, confession, and Christianity in Auhelawa, Papua New Guinea, 2010

Many anthropologists claim that so-called modern witchcraft is often only a reflection of traditional cultural observations. In Auhelawa (Milne Bay province, Papua New Guinea), perspectives are changing. Christianity has reshaped the cultural conception of personhood, space, and time, detaching witchcraft from the ethos of kinship. In this context, Western wealth symbolizes witchcraft as a moral failing.

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Witchcraft and Witchcraft Cleansing among the Vasava Bhils

Witchcraft among the Vasava Bhils of South Gujarat, in the western part of India. Witchcraft is currently practiced in Vasava Bhils. There are no institutional controls by means of law and order for resolving conflicts created through witchcraft as a means of social control.

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Anthropological and Historical Approaches to Witchcraft: Potential for a New Collaboration?

Witchcraft was studied in the 1960s through a comparative approach that covered different continents and periods of time. The topic was again widely discussed by anthropologists and sociologists in the 1990s, with an emphasis on global, and interdisciplinary perspectives to better understand witchcraft.

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