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Title: Witchcraft beliefs and social control in seventeenth century Malta
Authors: Cassar, Carmel
Keywords: Malta -- History -- Knights of Malta, 1530-1798
Witchcraft -- Malta -- History -- 17th century
Issue Date: 1993
Publisher: University of Malta. Mediterranean Institute
Citation: Cassar, C. (1993). Witchcraft beliefs and social control in seventeenth century Malta. Journal of Mediterranean Studies, 3(2), 316-334.
Abstract: This paper analyses two and a half years of witchcraft accusations in mid-seventeenth century Malta before the Inquisition Tribunal. Several individual cases are described and discussed in the light of a particular pattern of behaviour which demonstrate how magic gave the individual confidence in the face of fear and provided an outlet for hostility, by attempting to explain misfortune, failure and reveal the causes of illness. Although often unsuccessful magic assigned a human explanation to terrifying events and in so doing converted these events into a human rather than an extra human context. Socially magic provided an outlet for aggression engendered by the antagonism and frustration of social living. Witchcraft served to regulate sex antagonism and to provide a means of demanding cultural conformity by furnishing a criminal act of which deviants may be accused. The witches served as convenient scape goats for such offences.
ISSN: 10163476
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacEMATou

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