Animism: Respecting the Living World

Animism: Respecting the Living World

by Graham Harvey
     
 

How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal

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Overview

How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different animisms.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

No recent author has emphasized it or dealt with its implications as thoroughly as Harvey.

Stewart Guthrie
The strengths of this book are its fluid and engaging...writing; its openly committed stand on the central question, i.e., whether or not animals, plants, rivers, etc. are people, and its use of major ethnographic sources as evidence, together with conversations with indigenous peoples.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231137003
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
10/19/2005
Pages:
262
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Sarah M. Pike

Harvey's insightful and balanced study challenges both earlier studies of animism and more recent critics who argue that scholars should throw out the term altogether. This is a fascinating and passionate study of lifeworlds in which things are 'very much alive' and in which relation to non-human others is considered central.

Sarah M. Pike, California State University, Chico, author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community

Stewart Guthrie

The strengths of this book are its fluid and engaging...writing; its openly committed stand on the central question, i.e., whether or not animals, plants, rivers, etc. are people, and its use of major ethnographic sources as evidence, together with conversations with indigenous peoples.

Stewart Guthrie, Fordham University

Meet the Author

Graham Harvey is lecturer in religious studies at the Open University. He is the author or editor of numerous titles, including Shamanism: A Reader and The Paganism Reader.

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