© 2018

Sociology of Exorcism in Late Modernity


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Giuseppe Giordan, Adam Possamai
    Pages 1-20
  3. Giuseppe Giordan, Adam Possamai
    Pages 21-40
  4. Giuseppe Giordan, Adam Possamai
    Pages 41-64
  5. Giuseppe Giordan, Adam Possamai
    Pages 65-80
  6. Giuseppe Giordan, Adam Possamai
    Pages 81-98
  7. Giuseppe Giordan, Adam Possamai
    Pages 99-112
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 113-127

About this book


This book provides a sociological understanding of the phenomenon of exorcism and an analysis of the reasons for its contemporary re-emergence and impact on various communities. It argues that exorcism has become a religious commodity with the potential to strengthen a religion’s attraction to adherents, whilst also ensuring its hold. It shows that due to intense competition between religious groups in our multi-faith societies, religious groups are now competing for authority over the supernatural by ‘branding’ their particular type of exorcism ritual in order to validate the strength of their own belief system.

Sociology of Exorcism in Late Modernity features a detailed case-study of a Catholic exorcist in the south of Europe who dealt with more than 1,000 cases during a decade of work, and includes observations made by the authors of this book during their attendance at an exorcist ritual.


Exorcism in Later Modernity Over-Policing of the Devil Religious Markets and Branding Decriminalization of the Devil Sociology of Exorcism Ritual of Exorcism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Filosofia, Sociologia Pedagogia, Psicologia Applicata (FISPPA)Università degli Studi di PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.School of Social Sciences and PsychologyWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia

About the authors

Giuseppe Giordan is Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion at the University of Padua, Italy.

Adam Possamai is Professor of Sociology and Director of Research at the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University, Australia.

Bibliographic information


“This is an excellent and timely contribution to the sociology of religion. Giordan and Possamai’s study provides an historical account of the development of exorcism in Western Christianity, an extensive literature review, and original data on the contemporary significance of the rite of exorcism. Given the extent of belief in the Devil in modern society, we can read this volume as a critique of the secularization thesis that assumed the decline of religion with modernization.” (Bryan S. Turner, Journal of Sociology, January 17, 2019)

“Sociology of Exorcism in Late Modernity is a sociological work that attempts to explain the growth of exorcism in the contemporary period. … I know of no other study that has attempted such a far-reaching project, but hopefully this work will inspire others to do so in the future.” (Michael E. Heyes, Nova Religio, Vol. 22 (4), May, 2019)