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Social and Cultural Anthropology

Journal

Exorcism

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Full-Text Articles in European History

Media In Action: From Exorcism To Mesmerism, Stephan Gregory Sep 2015

Media In Action: From Exorcism To Mesmerism, Stephan Gregory

communication +1

In the Bavaria of 1775, the popular exorcist practices performed by the catholic priest Johann Joseph Gassner were discredited and superseded by the enlightened, scientific’ system of Franz Anton Mesmer's “Animal Magnetism”. As the article argues, this replacement could happen so easily because–below the apparent ideological differences–both procedures were based on the same idea of technical functioning, they relied on the same principle of operation. Gassnerism as well as Mesmerism revolved around the idea of communication, and in both cases this communication’ was not about conveying a message, a meaning, it was a about mediating between two ...