Simon During at Public Books:
But first things first. Magic’s Reason is based on a brilliant aperçu. Why shouldn’t anthropology come to terms with today’s secular magic? Or, to put that a little more carefully: given that anthropology has to a significant degree been constituted on an opposition between, on the one side, “modern rationality,” and, on the other, so-called “primitive magic” (as articulated by the discipline’s founders, and by E. B. Tylor [1832–1917] in particular), what might an ethnography of contemporary stage magicians and their understanding and practices of magic have to tell us about the discipline’s conceptual and ideological underpinnings?
Jones pursues his inquiry into relations between modern secular magic and anthropology’s historical conceptualization of primitive magic from a position that is, first, Boasian, and, second, Latourian.