Politics, State-Building, and Witch-Hunting

Johannes Dillinger

in The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America

Published in print March 2013 | ISBN: 9780199578160
Published online May 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Politics, State-Building, and             Witch-Hunting

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  • History
  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
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This article discusses the political aspects of witch-hunting. It suggests that the political system of the state, its changing distribution of power, and its inherent tensions must be regarded as some of the many factors which influenced witch-hunting. However, witch hunts also helped shape administrative structures and they provoked political tensions. Indeed, the witch trials helped to shape the map of Europe. The two most aggressive types of witch-hunting agency – the grassroots witch-hunters’ groups and the special witch-finding institutions of the princes – were eventually doomed to failure because they ran contrary to the general trend of state formation.

Keywords: witchcraft; witch-hunts; witch trials; political aspects; witch-finding institutions; communal groups

Article.  9326 words. 

Subjects: History ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) ; World History

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