Spirits and Scientists: Ideology, Spiritism, and Brazilian Culture

Paperback | November 21, 2007

byDavid J. Hess

not yet rated|write a review

Brazilian Spiritism (espiritismo, kardecismo) is an important middle-class religious movement whose followers believe in communication with the dead via spirit mediums and in healing illnesses by means of spiritual therapies. Unlike Anglo-Saxon Spiritualists, Brazilian Spiritists count among their number a well-developed and institutionalized intellectual elite that has reinterpreted northern hemisphere parapsychology and developed its own alternative medicine and sociology of religion. As a result, the mediation between popular religion (especially Afro-Brazilian religious practices) and the orthodoxies of the universities, the state, and the medical profession.

Situating Spiritist intellectual thought in what he calls a broader ideological arena, Hess examines Spiritism in the context of religion, science, political ideology, medicine, and even the social sciences. Hess challenges the legacy of French sociologist Roger Bastide, who saw in Spiritism an elitist, middle-class ideology. In the process, Spirits and Scientists provides a new approach to middle-class religious movements in Latin America.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$46.04

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Brazilian Spiritism (espiritismo, kardecismo) is an important middle-class religious movement whose followers believe in communication with the dead via spirit mediums and in healing illnesses by means of spiritual therapies. Unlike Anglo-Saxon Spiritualists, Brazilian Spiritists count among their number a well-developed and institutio...

David J. Hess is Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Science and Technology Studies Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

other books by David J. Hess

Bell, Book & Candlemas
Bell, Book & Candlemas

Mass Market Paperback|Dec 27 2016

$8.95 online$8.99list price
Midsummer Night's Mischief
Midsummer Night's Mischief

Mass Market Paperback|Jul 26 2016

$8.96 online$8.99list price
Yuletide Homicide
Yuletide Homicide

Mass Market Paperback|Sep 26 2017

$8.99

see all books by David J. Hess
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.96 × 6.01 × 0.65 inPublished:November 21, 2007Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271033673

ISBN - 13:9780271033679

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Spirits and Scientists: Ideology, Spiritism, and Brazilian Culture

Reviews

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

“A well-researched and well-written account of Spiritism among contemporary Brazilians. Theoretically, Hess is remaking the traditional concept of syncretism in the anthropological study of religions, particularly of folk religions where world religions are adapted over long periods of time to local systems of belief. Certainly in English there is nothing in the literature quite like this treatment of Spiritism among literate, and presumably modern, secular people in Brazil.”—George Marcus, Rice University