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Open Theology

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Documentary Film and Magic in Communist Romania

Alexandra Coțofană
Published Online: 2017-05-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0016

Abstract

The current paper is concerned with the ways that delegitimized forms of spirituality in communist Romania found unexpected ways of circulating their knowledge. Because of state control, especially during the repressive cultural revolution of the 1970s, magic practiced by Romanian Orthodox believers (as opposed to magic done by practitioners in other faiths) was practiced underground and was not a desirable topic of engagement for public figures and scholars. Conducting research on the topic of ritual magic was difficult for social scientists working in state institutes, and could only be done in secret. The current article explores one aspect of the politics of the communist regime against magic. In the late 1960s to early 1970s, a Romanian ethnographer shot and produced a documentary on ritual magic using the state’s technical and social tools. I investigate how the methodological problems faced by Romanian social researchers illuminate their research on ritual magic as a space of resistance.

Keywords: Communism; Romania; Magic; Documentary Film; Ethnography

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About the article

Received: 2017-02-09

Accepted: 2017-04-18

Published Online: 2017-05-11

Published in Print: 2017-01-26


Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 198–210, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0016.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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