Search results for: animism-in-rainforest-and-tundra

Animism in Rainforest and Tundra

Author : Marc Brightman
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Amazonia and Siberia, classic regions of shamanism, have long challenged 'western' understandings of man's place in the world. By exploring the social relations between humans and non-human entities credited with human-like personhood (not only animals and plants, but also 'things' such as artifacts, trade items, or mineral resources) from a comparative perspective, this volume offers valuable insights into the constitutions of humanity and personhood characteristic of the two areas. The contributors conducted their ethnographic fieldwork among peoples undergoing transformative processes of their lived environments, such as the depletion of natural resources and migration to urban centers. They describe here fundamental relational modes that are being tested in the face of change, presenting groundbreaking research on personhood and agency in shamanic societies and contributing to our global understanding of social and cultural change and continuity.

Animism in Rainforest and Tundra

Author : Marc Brightman
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Amazonia and Siberia, classic regions of shamanism, have long challenged "western" understandings of man's place in the world. By exploring the social relations between humans and non-human entities credited with human-like personhood (not only animals and plants, but also "things" such as artifacts, trade items, or mineral resources) from a comparative perspective, this volume offers valuable insights into the constitutions of humanity and personhood characteristic of the two areas. The contributors conducted their ethnographic fieldwork among peoples undergoing transformative processesof their lived environments, such as the depletion of natural resources and migration to urban centers. They describe here fundamental relational modes that are being tested in the face of change, presenting groundbreaking research on personhood and agency in shamanic societies and contributing to our global understanding of social and cultural change and continuity.

Shamanism in Siberia

Author : Mally Stelmaszyk
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The focus of this book is on the phenomenon of cursing in shamanic practice and everyday life in Tuva, a former Soviet republic in Siberia. Based on extensive anthropological fieldwork where the author interacted with a wide range of people involved in cursing practices, the book examines Tuvans’ lived experience of cursing and shamanism, thereby providing deep insights into Tuvans’ intimate and social worlds. It highlights especially the centrality of sound: how interactions between humans and non-humans are brought about through an array of sonic phenomena, such as musical sounds, sounds within words and non-linguistic vocalisations, and how such sonic phenomena are a key part of dramatic cursing events and wider shamanic performance and ritual, involving humans and spirits alike. Overall, the book reveals a great deal about occult practices and about social change in post-Soviet Tuva.

Animism in Southeast Asia

Author : Kaj Arhem
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Animism refers to ontologies or worldviews which assign agency and personhood to human and non-human beings alike. Recent years have seen a revival of this concept in anthropology, where it is now discussed as an alternative to modern-Western naturalistic notions of human-environment relations. Based on original fieldwork, this book presents a number of case studies of animism from insular and peninsular Southeast Asia and offers a comprehensive overview of the phenomenon – its diversity and underlying commonalities and its resilience in the face of powerful forces of change. Critically engaging with the current standard notion of animism, based on hunter-gatherer and horticulturalist societies in other regions, it examines the roles of life forces, souls and spirits in local cosmologies and indigenous religion. It proposes an expansion of the concept to societies featuring mixed farming, sacrifice and hierarchy and explores the question of how non-human agents are created through acts of attention and communication, touching upon the relationship between animist ontologies, world religion, and the state. Shedding new light on Southeast Asian religious ethnographic research, the book is a significant contribution to anthropological theory and the revitalization of the concept of animism in the humanities and social sciences.

Animism beyond the Soul

Author : Katherine Swancutt
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How might we envision animism through the lens of the ‘anthropology of anthropology’? The contributors to this volume offer compelling case studies that demonstrate how indigenous animistic practices, concepts, traditions, and ontologies are co-authored in highly reflexive ways by anthropologists and their interlocutors. They explore how native epistemologies, which inform anthropological notions during fieldwork, underpin the dialogues between researchers and their participants. In doing so, the contributors reveal ways in which indigenous thinkers might be influenced by anthropological concepts of the soul and, equally, how they might subtly or dramatically then transform those same concepts within anthropological theory.

Animism and the Question of Life

Author : Istvan Praet
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The central purpose of this book is to help change the terms of the debate on animism, a classic theme in anthropology. It combines some of the finest ethnographic material currently available (including firsthand research on the Chachi of Ecuador) with an unusually broad geographic scope (the Americas, Asia, and Africa). Edward B. Tylor originally defined animism as the first phase in the development of religion. The heyday of cultural evolutionism may be over, but his basic conception is commonly assumed to remain valid in at least one respect: there is still a broad consensus that everything is alive within animism, or at least that more things are alive than a modern scientific observer would allow for (e.g., clouds, rivers, mountains) It is considered self-evident that animism is based on a kind of exaggeration: its adherents are presumed to impute life to this, that and the other in a remarkably generous manner. Against the prevailing consensus, this book argues that if animism has one outstanding feature, it is its peculiar restrictiveness. Animistic notions of life are astonishingly uniform across the globe, insofar as they are restricted rather than exaggerated. In the modern Western cosmology, life overlaps with the animate. Within animism, however, life is always conditional, and therefore tends to be limited to one’s kin, one’s pets and perhaps the plants in one’s garden. Thus it emerges that "our" modern biological concept of life is stranger than generally thought.

The Handbook of Contemporary Animism

Author : Graham Harvey
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The Handbook of Contemporary Animism brings together an international team of scholars to examine the full range of animist worldviews and practices. The volume opens with an examination of recent approaches to animism. This is followed by evaluations of ethnographic, cognitive, literary, performative, and material culture approaches, as well as advances in activist and indigenous thinking about animism. This handbook will be invaluable to students and scholars of Religion, Sociology and Anthropology.

Posthuman Folklore

Author : Tok Thompson
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Can a monkey own a selfie? Can a chimp use habeas corpus to sue for freedom? Can androids be citizens? Increasingly, such difficult questions have moved from the realm of science fiction into the realm of everyday life, and scholars and laypeople alike are struggling to find ways to grasp new notions of personhood. Posthuman Folklore is the first work of its kind: both an overview of posthumanism as it applies to folklore studies and an investigation of “vernacular posthumanisms”—the ways in which people are increasingly performing the posthuman. Posthumanism calls for a close investigation of what is meant by the term “human” and a rethinking of this, our most basic ontological category. What, exactly, is human? What, exactly, am I? There are two main threads of posthumanism: the first dealing with the increasingly slippery slope between “human” and “animal,” and the second dealing with artificial intelligences and the growing cyborg quality of human culture. This work deals with both these threads, seeking to understand the cultural roles of this shifting notion of “human” by centering its investigation into the performances of everyday life. From funerals for AIBOs, to furries, to ghost stories told by Alexa, people are increasingly engaging with the posthuman in myriad everyday practices, setting the stage for a wholesale rethinking of our humanity. In Posthuman Folklore, author Tok Thompson traces both the philosophies behind these shifts, and the ways in which people increasingly are enacting such ideas to better understand the posthuman experience of contemporary life.

Amerindian Socio Cosmologies between the Andes Amazonia and Mesoamerica

Author : Ernst Halbmayer
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This book offers a new anthropological understanding of the socio-cosmological and ontological characteristics of the Isthmo–Colombian Area, beyond established theories for Amazonia, the Andes and Mesoamerica. It focuses on a core region that has been largely neglected by comparative anthropology in recent decades. Centering on relations between Chibchan groups and their neighbors, the contributions consider prevailing socio-cosmological principles and their relationship to Amazonian animism and Mesoamerican and Andean analogism. Classical notions of area homogeneity are reconsidered and the book formulates an overarching proposal for how to make sense of the heterogeneity of the region’s indigenous groups. Drawing on original fieldwork and comparative analysis, the volume provides a valuable anthropological addition to archaeological and linguistic knowledge of the Isthmo・Colombian Area.

Creating Dialogues

Author : Hanne Veber
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Creating Dialogues discusses contemporary forms of leadership in a variety of Amazonian indigenous groups. Examining the creation of indigenous leaders as political subjects in the context of contemporary state policies of democratization and exploitation of natural resources, the book addresses issues of resilience and adaptation at the level of local community politics in lowland South America. Contributors investigate how indigenous peoples perceive themselves as incorporated into the structures of states and how they tend to see the states as accomplices of the private companies and non-indigenous settlers who colonize or devastate indigenous lands. Adapting to the impacts of changing political and economic environments, leaders adopt new organizational forms, participate in electoral processes, become adept in the use of social media, experiment with cultural revitalization and new forms of performance designed to reach non-indigenous publics, and find allies in support of indigenous and human rights claims to secure indigenous territories and conditions for survival. Through these multiple transformations, the new styles and manners of leadership are embedded in indigenous notions of power and authority whose shifting trajectories predate contemporary political conjunctures. Despite the democratization of many Latin American countries and international attention to human rights efforts, indigenous participation in political arenas is still peripheral. Creating Dialogues sheds light on dramatic, ongoing social and political changes within Amazonian indigenous groups. The volume will be of interest to students and scholars of anthropology, ethnology, Latin American studies, and indigenous studies, as well as governmental and nongovernmental organizations working with Amazonian groups. Contributors: Jean-Pierre Chaumeil, Gérard Collomb, Luiz Costa, Oscar Espinosa, Esther López, Valéria Macedo, José Pimenta, Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti, Terence Turner, Hanne Veber, Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen