Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • David WaldronEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_747

The Politicization of Witchcraft History

Witchcraft and its associated imagery is one of the most powerful, pervasive, and multifaceted symbols in Western culture. That being said, evaluating the complex webs of representations associated with the image of the Witch and Witchcraft is an enormous task. The issues raised by the historical experience and study of Witchcraft further compound the bewildering array of symbols and themes associated with it. Of particular importance in establishing the links between representations and symbols of Witchcraft with the historical phenomena is the intensely Anglocentric domination of Witchcraft studies and literature, not least of which is the broad association of multiple divergent themes, images, ideas, and mythic forms under the category of Witch. This is despite the radically different cultural and historical contexts and localized meanings associated with the diverse network of terms which come together under the English term “Witchcraft”...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Ankarloo, B., & Henningsen, G. (1990). Early modern European witchcraft: Centres and peripheries. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  2. Briggs, R. (1996). Witches and neighbours the social and cultural context of European witchcraft. New York: Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  3. Cohn, N. (1975). Europe’s inner demons. London: Sussex University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Daly, M. (1979). Gyn/Ecology. London: Women’s Press.Google Scholar
  5. Hicks, R. (1991). In pursuit of Satan: American police and the occult. New York: Prometheus.Google Scholar
  6. Marwick, M. (Ed.). (1970). Witchcraft and sorcery. Hammondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  7. Morgan, R. (1977). Lady of the beast. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  8. Purkiss, D. (1976). The witch in history: Early modern and twentieth century interpretations. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Stewart, P., & Strathern, A. (2004). Witchcraft, sorcery, rumors and gossip. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Science and the HumanitiesUniversity of BallaratBallaratAustralia