Accepted Paper:

The power of the Goddess in the city  
Victoria Hegner (Göttingen University)

Paper long abstract:

The paper will concentrate on contemporary solitary witchcraft within the urban context of Berlin. It will explicate the practices and concepts of magic and the underlying notions of power. The paper will particularly draw attention to individuals and loosely knitted together groups that clearly position themselves as feminist activists.

By ethnographically portraying different forms of witchcraft magic and their interplay with feminism I will distinguish between ideas and structures of power that have to be understood within Freudo-Marxist terms and those that have to more adequately be analyzed within Foucauldian terms. There, I want to indicate the importance of the local context - the city - that brings about those fluid practice of magic and power and thus of spirituality. Spirituality there, forms an analytical axis with religion. Hence, feminist witchcraft, as I look upon it - puts forward a specific form spirituality in terms of a great transcendence (Luckmann (1991), Knoblauch (2009)). In doing so, witchcraft has to be understood as a religion (founding myth, differentiated, dynamic cosmology, syncretism) (Hutton(1999)).

Panel W014
Spirituality against religion: the role of gender and power