The Path of the Devil: Early Modern Witch Hunts

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Dezember 2006



Combining diverse sociological and philosophical theories, The Path of the Devil is a comparative analysis of the witch hunts of the early modern era. The author broadens his investigation through new quantitative analyses of the role of apocalyptic crises such as plague, war and other hardship.


Chapter 1 The Early Modern Witch Craze Chapter 2 Explaining Witch Hunts: Sacrifice, Persecution, and Scapegoat Theories Chapter 3 Apocalyptic Crises: Pestilence, War, and Famine Chapter 4 A Discourse on Measures Chapter 5 Untangling Relationships Chapter 6 Shifting Enemies: Scapegoating, Victimology, and Collective Conflict Chapter 7 The Salem Witch Hunt: A Perfect Storm Chapter 8 Modern "Witch Hunts": More than a Metaphor?


Gary Jensen is a professor of sociology and religious studies at Vanderbilt University and has held faculty appointments at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the University of Arizona. He has published over sixty articles and chapters and authored, coauthored, or edited eight books on criminology. Jensen was installed as a fellow of the American Society of Criminology in 2001.The Path of the Devil was completed with support from the National Science Foundation and Vanderbilt University.


The Path of the Devil is an interdisciplinary marvel that bridges academic discourses across social history, sociology and women's studies. Systematically applying numerous sociological theories and testing those theories with available data, Professor Jensen demonstrates the complex set of conditions-local, political, demographic, economic, and structural that foster witch hunts. Across time, continent and village, The Path of the Devil contextualizes a phenomena that has captured the popular imagination and historical treatises and provides sobering evidence that scapegoating and persecution of women are contemporary phenomena that are contained on a local scale because the conditions for widespread 'witch panics' have been lacking. -- Patricia MacCorquodale, University of Arizona The Path of the Devil is a highly interesting read that will come to be viewed as the best sociological analysis of the early modern witch-hunt... Jensen does a masterful job of telling an interesting story while articulating and applying the principles of scientific inquiry-including the application of quantitative and multivariate analysis-to a topic that heretofore has mainly been approached by relying on anecdotal observations. It offers one of the best pedagogical lessons on the meaning and application of scientific inquiry that I have seen in the social science literature. -- Darrell Steffensmeier, Penn State University One of the intellectual appeals of witchcraft as a subject of study is that, unlike virtually all other behaviors designated as deviant, the actions alleged did not-could not-have occurred. In The Path of the Devil, Gary Jensen valiantly tackles issues that have bedeviled a virtual battalion of scholars who have sought for hundreds of years to explain the outbreak of witch persecutions and prosecutions in Europe and in the American colonies. The Path of the Devil is a very important contribution to witchcraft scholarship and represents a tribute not only to the author, but also to the discipline of sociology and it empirical methods. -- Gilbert Geis, University of California, Irvine Contemporary Sociology Jensen's account is highly readable and thought-provoking, and could prove a valuable addition to nonreligious courses as well, such as political sociology-or perhaps even classical theory, given the author's elaboration upon the meanings and applications of functionalism as applied to witch hunts. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, V. 47, No. 1 Jensen provides a rich analytical account of witch hunts in the West and expertly manages to combine various interdisciplinary approaches to the study of witch hunts all in a single book...The use of both qualitative and quantitative research techniques makse it appealing in terms of its holistic approach to the topic, rendering it perhaps one of the most complete accounts of witch craze and colonial witch hunts in the United States. -- Soma Chaudhuri Feminist Teacher Gary Jensen has produced a fascinating sociological account of early modern witch hunts, from the mid-15th through the early 18th centuries, that has been long in the making but well worth the wait. It is an important contribution that should be of interest to students of deviance, social control, and collective behavior within sociology, historians of witchcraft and witch hunts, and both scholars and non-academics interested in witch hunts of more recent times. -- David A. Snow, University of California, Irvine Jensen's book is a necessary corrective for overly facile explanations of one of history's most puzzling episodes. -- Gary K. Waite, University of New Brunswick American Historical Review The Path of the Devil would be ideal for graduate seminars in deviance and control or collective behavior... a masterful tour de force that contributes to core concerns of sociology and speaks to a variety of other disciplines as well. The Path of the Devil manages to be interesting, interdisciplinary in its reach, and uncompromisingly empirical all at the same time. It is an exemplar of sociology at its best. American Journal of Sociology, September 2009
EAN: 9780742546967
ISBN: 0742546969
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Dezember 2006
Seitenanzahl: 283 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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