In this book I have argued that the lives of Ghanaian Presbyterians have become significantly more enchanted the more they have become incorporated into capitalist modes of production, particularly in the context of labor migration, over both time and space. This finding is ironic in light of Max Weber's most famous argument: that early Calvinist communities, of which Presbyterianism is a type, gave rise to the particular form of modern capitalism, but this economic system in turn destroyed the religious foundations that led to its emergence. Weber terms this form of religious destruction “disenchantment.”
Weber has a very nuanced meaning of religious disenchantment, which refers to three interrelated concepts. One, disenchantment signifies the decline of supernatural modes of explanation from the world and their replacement with worldly explanations. Two, disenchantment refers to the departure of supernatural forces behind the natural world that interact in human affairs, such as spirits, demons, and gods. Three, disenchantment denotes the absence of charismatically endowed humans—referred to alternatively as sorcerers, magicians, and spiritual advisors—to manipulate these supernatural beings in accordance with human agency.
More specifically, however, I have applied Weber's understanding of religious enchantment to conceptions of illness, health, and healing. Therefore, as discussed in this book, enchantment means three things: the increase of supernatural explanations of illness, health, and healing; the intensification of spirits interacting with humans that alternatively afflict or heal; and the presence of charismatically endowed humans—referred to as deliverance practitioners—who manage human-spirit interactions for the betterment of afflicted individuals.