Magic in the Making

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LaPorte, Jeffrey
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
In this thesis I conducted a study of legitimization within a religious minority community in Middle and East Tennessee, namely that of Neo-Pagans. In my field-work I noted that Neo-Pagans seemed to have an issue in regard to legitimacy, that they did not feel that their tradition was treated as a real religion by wider society. To explore this, I compared the way Neo-Pagans legitimate their religion with the way religious legitimization is typically constructed in our society to find the potential source of discrepancies. In this thesis I argue that much of the reason that Neo-Paganism is viewed as illegitimate stems from its practice of magic which promotes a different paradigm for the exchange of material goods and religious power then the one held by most of society in Middle and East Tennessee.
magic, neo-pagan, legitimacy, materiality, religion, Tennessee