Satanic Tourism

Theodicy, Suffering, and Evil


  • Douglas Ezzy University of Tasmania



Satanism, cultural repertoires, theodicy, youth rebellion, teenage religion


This article argues that some Satanic theodicies used by Christians to explain experiences of suffering can also encourage young people to engage in Satanic tourism. Popular and religious explanations often blame Satan, and Satanic cults, for the rebellious behaviour of teenage Satanists. A number of sociological studies have suggested that Satanic symbols and imagery are secondary overlays and that poverty and social exclusion are the primary sources of adolescent Satanism. I argue that Satanic theodicies are a significant influence on the choice of some rebellious youth to engage in Satanic practices. The argument is illustrated with a long extract from an interview with a teenage Satanic tourist who experienced significant childhood trauma. This paper places a young woman’s Satanic tourism in the context of a more general analysis of theodicies of good and evil. It focuses on the use of Satanic symbols by the young woman and her family, and their role in her interpretation of, and response to, an experience of significant childhood suffering.

Author Biography

Douglas Ezzy, University of Tasmania

Douglas Ezzy’s research is driven by a fascination with how people make meaningful and dignified lives. His most recent book Teenage Witches is an international study of teenage Witchcraft with Helen Berger. He is also conducting an ethnography of a Pagan Festival in Australia. More generally he has published articles on the sociology of work and unemployment, living with HIV, and research methodology. His books include: Qualitative Analysis, Narrating Unemployment, and Practising the Witch's Craft. He is an Association Professor in Sociology, and Head of School of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Tasmania, Australia.


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How to Cite

Ezzy, D. (2011). Satanic Tourism: Theodicy, Suffering, and Evil. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 24(2), 194–210.




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