Witch hunting was also instrumental to the construction of a new patriarchal order where women’s bodies, their labor, their sexual and reproductive powers were placed under the control of the state and transformed into economic resources. This means that the witch hunters were less interested in the punishment of any specific transgression than in the elimination of generalized forms of female behavior which they no longer tolerated and had to be made abominable in the eyes of the population.
Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation

Published in: on August 8, 2012 at 8:13 am  Comments (1)  
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  1. That doesn’t fit well with the historical records we have of witch hunting. If it was about the state controlling the bodies of women and transforming them into economic bodies you’d expect there to be more trials where the state was strong. In fact, the vast majority of executions were done in places of social instability, on borders and by local courts, where the government and the church was weak and the people were strong.

    This followed dogma. The church’s official position was that witchcraft didn’t exist, as witches did not have the power to violate the laws of god. They only tended to convict witches before when a noble got pissed at someone cursing him.

    The people suck, not the government. They were paranoid and angry, looking for someone to blame for their woes.

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