Special Issue "Magic and Supernaturalism Today"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 June 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Randall Styers

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Magic; supernaturalism in contemporary culture; cultural history of the study of religion

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Contemporary global culture is filled with enormous amounts of religious creativity, and large numbers of people are drawn to practices and beliefs that are configured as magical. Powerful information technologies and popular media have fueled the spread of new ideas and practices and the development of new religious movements and subcultures. The purpose of this Special Issue is to explore a number of these phenomena and to consider the particular effects produced by labeling them as magical, either by their practitioners or by outside observers.

What does the proliferation of new supernaturalist subcultures show us about the dynamics and potential of cultural creativity in the contemporary world? How do the members of these communities respond to the social prominence of modern science, and how do they respond to the dominant social norms of modernity more broadly? How does the rhetoric of magic serve either to empower or to marginalize particular subcultures? What new understandings of human identity and subjectivity are at play in these practices?

The Special Issue seeks articles that explore particular contemporary supernaturalist communities and practices, that reflect on the potency of labeling specific practices and beliefs as magical, and that consider the broader cultural dynamics at work in supernaturalism in the contemporary world.

Prof. Dr. Randall Styers
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 550 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Magic
  • superstition
  • supernaturalism
  • new religious movements
  • modernity
  • science

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessConcept Paper Where Is the Money? The Intersectionality of the Spirit World and the Acquisition of Wealth
Religions 2019, 10(3), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030146
Received: 20 January 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 22 February 2019 / Published: 27 February 2019
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This article is a theoretical treatment of the ways in which local worldviews on wealth acquisition give rise to contemporary manifestations of spirituality in cyberspace. It unpacks spiritual (occult) economies and wealth generation through a historical perspective. The article ‘devil advocates [...] Read more.
This article is a theoretical treatment of the ways in which local worldviews on wealth acquisition give rise to contemporary manifestations of spirituality in cyberspace. It unpacks spiritual (occult) economies and wealth generation through a historical perspective. The article ‘devil advocates’ the ‘sainthood’ of claimed law-abiding citizens, by highlighting that the line dividing them and the Nigerian cybercriminals (Yahoo-Boys) is blurred with regards to the use of magical means for material ends. By doing so, the article also illustrates that the intersectionality of the spirit world and the acquisition of wealth (crime or otherwise) is connected with local epistemologies and worldviews, and its contemporaneity has social security benefits. Therefore, the view that the contemporary manifestations of spirituality in cyberspace signify a ‘new-danger’ and an ever-increasing outrage in Nigerian society is misplaced. I conclude that if people believe all aspects of life are reflective of the spiritual world and determined by it, the spiritual realm, by implication, is the base of society, upon which sits the superstructure comprised of all aspects of life, especially wealth. Inferentially, this conceptual position that the spirit world is the base of society is an inversion of Orthodox Marxist’s theory of economic determinism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magic and Supernaturalism Today)

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