Materialized Belief: "Industrialized" Islamic Amulets | Ventura | Visual Ethnography

Materialized Belief: "Industrialized" Islamic Amulets

Jonathan Ventura, Ariela Popper-Giveon, Atef abu Rabia


Amulets are one of the founding stones of traditional healing, manifested in various cultures for thousands of years. While anthropologists and folklorists delved into this unique world, an inter-disciplinary viewpoint of this phenomenon may be of further use. We wish to describe Islamic amulets from a material culture perspective, combining socio-cultural and material elements. Analyzing a particular amulet, prepared by a traditional Arab woman healer in Israel, we claim that today, some amulets are imbued with agentic abilities, rendering their material aspects irrelevant. This observation, in light of current literature, point to a dual process of industrialization and abstraction Islamic amulets undergo in recent years. This viewpoint will benefit, in our eyes, researchers in various fields from archaeology to design studies. It will contribute, specifically, to the way materials are being perceived in a spiritual context such as ritual, healing and belief.


traditional healing; Islam; amulet; material culture; agency

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ISSN Print 2499-9288
ISSN Online 2281-1605
Publisher Edizioni Museo Pasqualino
Patronage University of Basilicata, Italy
Web Salvo Leo

Periodico registrato presso il Tribunale di Palermo con numero di registrazione 1/2023