Paranormal Beliefs: A Sociological Introduction

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  • Publish Date: 1999-09-22
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Erich Goode

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Despite the continued and growing popularity of such phenom- ena as angels, witches, extra-sensory perception, psychics, astrology, foretelling the future, living past lives, ghosts, and communicating with the dead, such beliefs have received little scrutiny from sociologists. Who believes in them? Why? And with what consequences? A paranormal belief system is generated as a result of cultural, social, and social-psychological forces; it is linked with social institutions in identifiable ways and has identifiable consequences. According to the author, the explication of how paranormal beliefs are accepted or rejected yields richer understanding of social structures and dynamics. Accepting one or more of the beliefs--or accepting a cosmology that rules them out of the realm of the possible--tells us a great deal about the believers and disbelievers as well as the society in which they live. This compelling, well-documented work presents a much-needed sociological examination of the role paranormal beliefs play in our society.

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