Magico-religious practitioner types and socioeconomic conditions

Cross-Cultural Research Vol/Iss. 20(1-4) Sage Published In Pages: 17-46
By Winkelman, Michael James


"Societies with a single practitioner always has a practitioner from the Healer Complex present, generally a Shaman. Societies with two practitioner types present generally has a Priest and a Shaman/Healer or a functionally equivalent pattern", and societies with three practitioner types present all had a Priest and a member of the Healer Complex, with the third practitioner being either a Malevolent Practitioner or a Medium. "Societies with four practitioners exhibited a single pattern of a Priest, a Malevolent Practitioner, a Medium, and a practitioner from the Healer Complex". (35)


These are typical patterns identified from the analysis of the patterns of co-occurrence of practitioner types in a given society (35)


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail

Related Hypotheses

Main AuthorHypothesis
Winkelman, Michael James"If a Shaman is present, there are generally no other practitioner types present". (34)
Winkelman, Michael James"Societies with a single practitioner type were generally hunting and gathering societies; while those with two practitioner types always had agriculture as a major mode of subsistence. The societies with three practitioner types present had agricultural or pastoral economies and, with one exception, political integration beyond the local level. Those societies with four practitioner types present had agriculture and political integration beyond the local level and, with one exception, the p...
Winkelman, Michael James"All of the Shamans were in nomadic or seminomadic societies, which generally has hunting and gathering economies" (36)..."However, all of the Shaman/Healers were found in societies with agriculture, and almost all of the Healers were found in societies with political integration beyond the local level" (36)
Winkelman, Michael James"Priest practitioners were present only in sedentary societies with a major reliance upon agriculture or pastoralism"(37)
Winkelman, Michael James"The Malevolent Practitioners are generally referred to by terms that are translated as 'sorcerers' or 'witches'. They are part-time specialists, with low social and economic status. In most societies, malevolent practitioners can be either male or female". (27)