Revolution and Witchcraft: 

The Code of Ideology in Unsettled Times

About this Website: 

This site supplements the book Revolution and Witchcraft: The Code of Ideology in Unsettled Times (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2023).  It contains additional elaborations and materials for interested readers.  

Free Ebook: A FREE electronic copy (in PDF or ePub format) can be downloaded at the publisher's website:

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Hard Copy: The hard copy of this book (Hardcover) retails at $54.99.  Although you can buy from Amazon and other commercial vendors, the publisher often offers heavy discount (sometimes 20%-40%) on hardcover books. Explore these discounts online and consider purchasing the book directly from the publisher (see link above). 

Book Description

Ideas influence people.  In particular, extremely well-developed sets of ideas shape individuals, groups, and societies in far-reaching ways.  This book 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—this book 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 terminologies (see Glossary under the "For Instructors" section) are provided for readers to analyze multiform idea systems that exist across space, time, and cultural contexts.

Author's Bio

Gordon C. Chang (郑志达 | 鄭志達) is Professor of Sociology at Western Illinois University, where he also directs the Sociology Graduate Program.  With expertise in qualitative sociology, theory, and the sociology of knowledge, he has taught political and cultural sociology classes at both Western Illinois University and University of California, Davis. His works in discourse analysis have appeared in Pragmatics, Discourse and Society, and the Journal of Language and Politics. He has frequently presented papers at the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (SSSI), the Midwest Sociological Society (MSS), the American Sociological Association (ASA).

How to Read the Book (for General Readers) 

The name of this book is not intended to denigrate revolution or witchcraft beliefs and activities. In the context of this work, “revolution” represents a sound ideal and “witchcraft” a set of evidenced facts. Humans form thoughts around ideals and facts, making them in regulated and unregulated manners. Small variations in each mode of thinking can create all the difference. See the book interview in the Q&A section of this website for details.


I hope that the readers recognize some of these processes in their own minds and in the minds of the people with whom they interact. This book uses slow-motion (sometimes word-to-word) analysis to show how ideas of ultimately disastrous consequences are formed in small steps, and these steps are often linked together in chains. Big mistakes and errors do not appear so when one looks at each of the small piece; only when one goes back and forth between the chain and the small steps can one see a whole pattern. 

“Ideas, by their nature, are prone to abuse. Human beings, by their nature, are prone to abuse ideas.” These opening lines of the book are my central observation relevant to the current condition. I would refrain from commenting on affairs that are too contemporary, but just how fast and easily thoughts with potentially severe consequences can multiply in our day and age presents quite a serious threat to society. This book may not prevent another tragedy, but it is my hope that it is of use for a few serious readers to make sense of the underlying causes of our unsettled times.