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Redefining Shamanisms: Spiritualist Mediums and Other Traditional Shamans as Apprenticeship Outcomes - Bloomsbury Advances in Religious Studies (Hardback)
  • Redefining Shamanisms: Spiritualist Mediums and Other Traditional Shamans as Apprenticeship Outcomes - Bloomsbury Advances in Religious Studies (Hardback)
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Redefining Shamanisms: Spiritualist Mediums and Other Traditional Shamans as Apprenticeship Outcomes - Bloomsbury Advances in Religious Studies (Hardback)

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£120.00
Hardback 272 Pages / Published: 31/01/2013
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Spiritualism and mediumship are often regarded as the product of lingering superstition in the Victorian era, and as having limited relevance in modern Anglo-American society. Scholarship to date which has considered Spiritualism as a distinct religious tradition has focussed on analysing the phenomenon in terms of spirit possession only. This volume analyses the development of shamanism (communication with the spiritual world) as a concept within North American English-speaking scholarship, with particular focus on Mircea Eliade's influential cross-cultural presentation of shamanism. By re-examining the work of Sergei Shirokogoroff, one of Eliade's principal sources, the traditional Evenki shamanic apprenticeship is compared and identified with the new Spiritualist apprenticeship. The author demonstrates that Spiritualism is best understood as a traditional shamanism, as distinct from contemporary appropriations or neo-shamanisms. He argues that shamanism is the outcome of an apprenticeship in the management of psychic experiences, and which follows the same pattern as that of the apprentice medium. In doing so, the author offers fresh insights into the mechanisms that are key to sustaining mediumship as a social institution.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
ISBN: 9781441159502
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 558 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is a rare and valuable field study of Spiritualism, more so because its author is both a practicing medium and a fine scholar of religion. In addition, it is a truly comparative study that goes beyond description to make an innovative case for rethinking the category of 'shamanism' in light of a core emphasis on apprenticeship. -- Steven Engler, Associate Professor in the Humanities Department at Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada
This is an elegantly written, original monograph that arguably has singlehandedly resuscitated the study of spiritualism in Religious Studies. It deserves a wide readership and is strongly recommended. -- Carole M. Cusack, Associate Professor in the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney, Australia
David Gordon Wilson's 'insider' position as a Spiritualist medium affords a unique insight which redefines not only our understanding of shamanism, but also the place of Spiritualism in modern British society. As our appreciation and awareness of the sheer complexity of the religious and spiritual landscape of modern Western society continues to develop this text draws attention to the fact that enchanted otherworldly spiritualities do not exist outside society and everyday life, but emerge from and feed into the social, cultural and physical landscapes they are housed within. In this way Wilson offers insight into not only Spiritualism and shamanism, but into the societies from which they emerge, making this nuanced account of a very particular spiritual practice relevant to our wider understanding of the modern - and far from disenchanted - condition. -- Sara MacKian, Senior Lecturer in Health and Wellbeing at The Open University, UK
Based in a detailed account of contemporary Spiritualist practices, this is an enterprising study of mediumship in modern European society. The author boldly argues that learning how to be a working Spiritualist medium can be understood as a "western" instance of a cross-cultural institution of Shamanic apprenticeship. The book contains the fullest ethnography of Spiritualism in the UK yet published and will open a new chapter in studies of Spiritualism as well as generate fresh debate within comparative studies of possession and shamanism. * Dr. Steven J. Sutcliffe, Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religion, University of Edinburgh, UK *
...I found this an informative, well-argued, richly descriptive and theoretically persuasive book that I recommend to all readers of Nova Religio. -- Eileen Barker, London School of Economics * Nova Religio *

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