Is There Such a Thing as Animism?

This article considers the recent reemergence of the category of animism in the anthropological study of religion, a concept that has once again become fashionable after a long period of scholarly disuse. This “new animism,” as it is called by many of its proponents, seeks to move away from the orig...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Main Author: Wilkinson, Darryl (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2017]
In:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Year: 2017, Volume: 85, Issue: 2, Pages: 289-311
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B Religious ethnology / Animism / Religious philosophy
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:This article considers the recent reemergence of the category of animism in the anthropological study of religion, a concept that has once again become fashionable after a long period of scholarly disuse. This “new animism,” as it is called by many of its proponents, seeks to move away from the original animism that was the basis for much Victorian thought on indigenous religions and which rested upon now largely discredited social evolutionist paradigms. I discuss this renewed interest in indigenous animism in terms of its place within recent intellectual history, especially the growing engagement with the global environmental crisis among scholars in the humanities. I argue that the new animism is only selectively “indigenous” in its promotion of non-Western ontologies, and suggest that it is ultimately best understood as a kind of analytical metaphor rather than an objective category of religious practice that exists out there in the world.
ISSN:1477-4585
Contains:Enthalten in: American Academy of Religion, Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1093/jaarel/lfw064