In Between Magic and Reality, Vibeke Steffen, Steffen Jöhncke, and Kirsten Marie Raahauge bring together a diverse range of ethnographies that examine and explore the forms of reflection, action, and interaction that govern the ways different contemporary societies create and challenge the limits of reason. The essays here visit an impressive array of settings, including international scientific laboratories, British spiritualist meetings, Chinese villages, Danish rehabilitation centers, and Uzbeki homes, where they encounter a diverse assortment of people whose beliefs and concerns exhibit an unusual but central contemporary dichotomy: scientific reason versus spiritual/paranormal belief. Exploring the paradoxical way these modes of thought push against reason's boundaries, they offer a deep look at the complex ways they coexist, contest one another, and are ultimately intertwined.
Vibeke Steffen is associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen, where Steffen Jöncke is senior advisor. Kirsten Marie Raahauge is associate professor in the School of Design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.