Gordon C. Chang, "Revolution and Witchcraft: The Code of Ideology in Unsettled Times" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023)


Ideas influence people. In particular, extremely well-developed sets of ideas shape individuals, groups, and societies in far-reaching ways. In Revolution and Witchcraft: The Code of Ideology in Unsettled Times (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), Gordon Chang establishes these “idea systems” as an academic concept.

Through three intense episodes of manipulation and mayhem connected to idea systems—Europe’s witch hunts, the Mao Zedong-era “revolutions,” and the early campaign of the U.S. War on Terror—Revolution and Witchcraft charts the cognitive and informational matrices that seize control of people’s mentalities and behaviors across societies. Through these, the author reaches two conclusions. The first, that we are all vulnerable to the dominating influence of our own matrices of ideas and to those woven by others in the social system. The second, that even the most masterful manipulators of idea programs may lose control of the outcomes of programmatic manipulation. Amongst this analysis, sixty-plus central conceptual terms are provided for readers to analyze multiform idea systems that exist across space, time, and cultural contexts.

This book is available open access here

Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is a Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He is the author of The Social Construction of a Cultural Spectacle: Floatzilla (Lexington Books, 2023) and Community Media Representations of Place and Identity at Tug Fest: Reconstructing the Mississippi River (Lexington Books, 2022). His general area of study is in the areas of social construction of experience, identity, and place. He is currently conducting research for his next project that looks at nightlife and the emotional labor that is performed by employees of bars and nightclubs. To learn more about Michael O. Johnston you can go to his website, Google Scholar, Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or by email at johnstonmo@wmpenn.edu.

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Michael Johnston

Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University.

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