Document Type Master's Dissertation Author Apostolides, Anastasia email@example.com URN etd-09102008-151744 Document Title Western ethnocentrism : a comparison between African witchcraft and the Greek evil eye from a sociology of religion perspective Degree MA(Theology) Department Practical Theology Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof Y Dreyer Supervisor Keywords
- evil eye
Date 2008-04-18 Availability unrestricted Abstract
This dissertation can be summarized as follows: ethnocentrism occurs because there is a lack of insight to the fact that religion is socially taught. Ethnocentrism should not be enforced on our understanding of other cultures. A comparative study was done between African witchcraft and the Greek evil eye to see if these two cultures still believe in what Westerners term superstitions, due to similar reasons. The study illustrated that these cultures still believe in these so-called superstitions because similar reasons. The study also showed that both these cultures experienced ethnocentrism from Western scholars’ who believe that the practice of witchcraft and the evil are primitive superstitions instead of a different reality to the their own. Greeks and Africans are socially taught to believe in the evil eye and witchcraft respectively.
For the Greek people Satan is a real being, with supernatural powers, which can influence the ability of some people to cause malicious harm to other people by looking at them with an evil eye. Such maliciousness is despised and Greek people neither want to have the evil eye put on them or their families, nor do they want to be accused of putting the evil eye on others. The evil eye controls the social interaction of people’s behaviour, making people suspicious of one another.
For African people witchcraft and the demonic are a reality that threatens their daily lives. African people live in constant fear of being bewitched. If an African person identifies the person who has bewitched them or their family they may take violent revenge on the accused witch, sometimes leading to the witches’ death. Witchcraft controls the social interaction of peoples’ behaviour, making people suspicious of one another.
What some Western scholars fail to realize is that Westerners are socially taught to believe that the evil eye and witchcraft are superstitions. Westerners are socially taught to believe in Satan as a symbol of evil, rather than as an actual being. In the West it is considered primitive to believe in so-called superstitions of any kind as it is believed that what causes these so-called superstitions is a lack of modern (education) medicine. Westerners prefer to solve what some would call the supernatural by looking to science for logical explanations for such occurrences.
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Please cite as follows:
Apostolides, A 2007, Western ethnocentrism : a comparison between African witchcraft and the Greek evil eye from a sociology of religion perspective, MA(Theol) dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09102008-151744 / >E921/gm
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