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Contemporary Korean Shamanism: From Ritual to Digital

From the publisher’s website:

Once viewed as an embarrassing superstition, the theatrical religious performances of Korean shamans—who communicate with the dead, divine the future, and become possessed—are going mainstream. Attitudes toward Korean shamanism are changing as shamanic traditions appear in staged rituals, museums, films, and television programs, as well as on the internet.

Contemporary Korean Shamanism explores this vernacular religion and practice, which includes sensory rituals using laden altars, ecstatic dance, and animal sacrifice, within South Korea’s hypertechnologized society, where over 200,000 shamans are listed in professional organizations. Liora Sarfati reveals how representations of shamanism in national, commercialized, and screen-mediated settings have transformed opinions of these religious practitioners and their rituals.

Applying ethnography and folklore research, Contemporary Korean Shamanism maps this shift in perception about shamanism—from a sign of a backward, undeveloped Korea to a valuable, indigenous cultural asset.

Liora Sarfati is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department of East Asian Studies at Tel Aviv University.


1. Gods on Stage: A Mediated Performance
2. The Changing Image of Musok in Films
3. Agendas, Power, and Ideology in Museum Displays of Korean Shamanism
4. Getting to Know a Korean Shaman through Television Representations
5. Shamans Online: Internet Promotion of Musok Practitioners
Conclusion: From Ritual to the World Wide Web and Back

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.