In the Azande society, witchcraft is referred to as Mangu and it is described at the beginning of the book as “it is an indispensable background to the other beliefs” (Evans-Pritchard 4) and the definition and attributes of witchcraft is clearly illustrated as well. Evans-Pritchard has developed theories to provide conclusive explanations as to why the Azande believes in witchcraft and their irrational and relevancy of their beliefs within the western culture. The author states that “Azande do not perceive the contradiction as we perceive it” within their beliefs for witchcrafts despite that justification for their belief having some faulty within the system itself (Evans-Pritchard 4). There is the presence of irrationalism within the beliefs of witchcraft among the Azande despite being drawn from the perspective of the western culture as their perspective is not one of the naivety.
The established logical background and the social structure also fits well with the belief of witchcraft among the Azande society. The society believes that lack of understanding of causation does not lead to witchcraft as they are clearly aware that if taboos are not broken and care was well taken, the unfortunate events would still occur within the society due to witchcraft. Nevertheless, Evans-Pritchard (5) states that Azande society perceives death as being more decisive based on their description “Death is due to witchcraft’. The people of Azande also believes that death is a powerful tool that is widely used to identify and punish the witches.
Oracles are also widely featured in the Azande society as they provided more reliable information and premonition as compare to the witch-doctors. There are three primary oracles which are illustrated in details regarding their purpose, activities, and reliability in the society. The Poison Oracle is the primary focus in the book as its findings are regarded as irrefutable facts and widely provides the main court rationalization before British rule. The author states that “there is little chance of the oracle being proved wrong” which illustrates the ambiguity of the question during the court proceedings (Evans-Pritchard 160). Although this describes lack of persuasion about the worth of oracle findings, Evans-Pritchard still maintains that Oracle is more practical within the Azande and they occupy a critical place within the societies or the organization as ” their blindness is not due to stupidity” (Evans-Pritchard 159).
Towards the final segment of the book, the author discusses the magic that happens in the Azande society. The section displays the flexibility of the structure where every situation is composed of various possible explanation of the magic that is happening in the society. The magic is explained as “notions do not bind everyone to identical beliefs” and also “each twists the notion… to suit himself” (Evans-Pritchard 194)
Further, the ideas of magic in the Azande society is sharply divided into good and bad, and it seems to be supporting the social ideas of accountability and “the good magic judges and reacts against criminals in the society” (Evans-Pritchard 189). Whereas the bad magic would seem to exterminate one of the party without considering the case’s merits. There is also some elements of Skepticism about the magic in Azande society based on the description as “I am still doubtful whether bad medicines…really exist’ (Evans-Pritchard 192). The skepticism continuous to illustrates the secretive existence of a close relationship that emerges in the first two decades of the century, especially the mani. The relationship is reflected in the structure itself and it occurred before the invasion of the Europeans, and the normal Azande’s customs are contradicted by these associations. The opposition occur in the convention are concerned with the respect of the elders and sex division. Confusion is also existing within the division of the good and bad magic as the new transformation are revealed at a greater extent which illustrates the threats that these changes posed to the social structure and beliefs of the Azande society.
There are significant differences in the methods that the author has applied in the study of Azande culture with numerous ethnographic studies that were done during that period. The author would have been expected to simply observe and accept the actions that are being undertaken by the society instead of challenging their beliefs (Evans-Pritchard 191). The approach of observation and acceptance could have revealed greater detail description and understanding of the Azande culture as compared to the method employed in the study. Besides uncovering more information regarding the population under study, the researcher could have also discovered a much more coherent and logical structure of the Azande beliefs which would have rather been simply recognized
Further, the book is structured in a coherent manner which contradicts the traditional perspectives of the indigenous people who were considered to be “irrationality of primitive people” (Evans-Pritchard 189). The comparison between the Azande and Western thoughts has been used throughout in the book without putting them into consideration and providing one with a much greater value of truth than the other.
Moreover, the author has altered several opinions in this study to validate the beliefs of the population that they have witnessed witchcrafts and then later they deny the existence of witches (Evans-Pritchard 18). Despite that the author was intending to demonstrate that Azande people are rational and their beliefs should fade off, Evans-Pritchard flouted theory of magical practices lacking logic because he undermined the existence of a cause-effect relationship in his study.