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Book: Enchantment

Chapter: Rational Re-Enchantment

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.43968


In this chapter, I describe a particular version of re-enchantment in which enchantment primarily involves heightened emotions or affective states and in which re-enchantment therefore involves delight that is free from the delusion associated with premodern belief in magic and spirits. I begin with an overview of the theoretical framework that supports this view of re-enchantment, focusing primarily on the work of Michael Saler and Jane Bennett. I also outline some arguments for secular re-enchantment put forward by a number of scholars working in different fields. Borrowing from Jane Bennett’s description of the various potential sources of enchantment, I organize these accounts of secular re-enchantment into three general categories: culture, technology, and nature. For each category, I provide a brief outline of the specific variety of disenchantment that is apparently being reversed by rational re-enchantment.

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