The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

The Contemporary Phase of Magical “Practice-knowledge”: Focusing on the Relationship between Magical and Other Kinds of “Practice-knowledge”

Joint Research Coordinator KAWADA Makito

Reserch Theme List


magic, practice-knowledge, modern practice-knowledge


Various types of "practice-knowledge" constitute the contemporary world ("practice-knowledge" is a makeshift term used here to indicate the comprehensive concept of actions involving the senses, knowledge and beliefs). This study aims to clarify the relationship between magical "practice-knowledge" and other types of "practice-knowledge", namely science, religion, hospital medical care, school education, and media representation, to highlight the particularity (peculiarity) and universality (commonality with other types of "practice-knowledge") of magical "practice-knowledge" in the contemporary world.
The study draws on Minpaku's preceding joint research study, "Understanding Magic: The Interrelationship between Knowledge and Practice" (2007-2009, led by Chihiro Shirakawa), and the corresponding publication "Anthropology of Magic" (2012, edited by Shirakawa and Kawada, Jimbun, Shoin). The present study extends the basic framework of "language/practice" introduced in the previous study to the theoretical dimensions of "believing", "knowing", "acting", and "feeling". It does this by incorporating specific concepts, such as relationships with religions, worldviews, systems, and senses, as interfaces for interacting with the world. In this way, the study group aims to revitalize contemporary practice theory and knowledge theory from the viewpoint of magic theory.