Poetry Madness

Recently Viewed clear list

Interviews | March 17, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Peter Stark: The Powells.com Interview

Peter StarkIt's hard to believe that 200 years ago, the Pacific Northwest was one of the most remote and isolated regions in the world. In 1810, four years... Continue »
  1. $19.59 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

Qualifying orders ship free.
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
25 Remote Warehouse Christianity- Missionaries

This title in other editions

The Mind Possessed: The Cognition of Spirit Possession in an Afro-Brazilian Religious Tradition


The Mind Possessed: The Cognition of Spirit Possession in an Afro-Brazilian Religious Tradition Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The cognitive science of religion has made a persuasive case for the view that a number of different psychological systems are involved in the construction and transmission of notions of extranatural agency such as deities and spirits. Until now this work has been based largely on findings in experimental psychology, illustrated mainly with hypothetical or anecdotal examples. In The Mind Possessed, Emma Cohen considers how the psychological systems undergirding spirit concepts are activated in real-world settings.

Spirit possession practices have long had a magnetizing effect on academic researchers but there have been few, if any, satisfactory theoretical treatments of spirit possession that attempt to account for its emergence and spread globally. Drawing on ethnographic data collected during eighteen months of fieldwork in Belem, northern Brazil, Cohen combines fine-grained descriptions and analyses of mediumistic activities in an Afro-Brazilian cult house with a scientifically-grounded explanation for the emergence and spread of ideas about spirits, possession and healing.

Cohen shows why spirit possession and its associated activities are inherently attention-grabbing. Making a radical departure from traditional anthropological, medicalist, and sociological analyses, she argues that a cognitive approach offers more precise and testable hypotheses concerning the spread and appeal of spirit concepts and possession activities.

This timely book presents new lines of enquiry for the cognitive science of religion (a rapidly growing field of interdisciplinary scholarship) and challenges the theoretical frameworks within which spirit possession practices have traditionally been understood.

About the Author

Emma Cohen is a post-doctoral researcher in the Comparative Cognitive Anthropology Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Table of Contents

Note on Translated Sources

1. Introducing Possession

2. Historical and Ethnographic Setting

3. The Research Community

4. Describing, Interpreting, and Explaining Spirit Possession

5. Medicalist, Physiological, and Sociological Explanations

6. Spirits as Concepts

7. Observing Possession

8. The Social Relevance of Spirits

9. Explaining Distributions of Spirit Concepts and Spirit Possession






Product Details

Cohen, Emma
Oxford University Press
null, Emma
Cognitive Psychology
Theology | Psychology of Religion
Religion & Theology | Psychology of Religion
General Religion
Publication Date:
6.1 x 9.1 x 0.7 in 0.813 lb

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Religion » Christianity » Missionaries
Religion » Western Religions » Social and Political Issues

The Mind Possessed: The Cognition of Spirit Possession in an Afro-Brazilian Religious Tradition New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$32.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199767441 Reviews:
  • back to top
Follow us on...

Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.