Rethinking the animate, re-animating thought

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

318 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Animism is often described as the imputation of life to inert objects. Such imputation is more typical of people in western societies who dream of finding life on other planets than of indigenous peoples to whom the label of animism has classically been applied. These peoples are united not in their beliefs but in a way of being that is alive and open to a world in continuous birth. In this animic ontology, beings do not propel themselves across a ready-made world but rather issue forth through a world-in-formation, along the lines of their relationships. To its inhabitants this weather-world, embracing both sky and earth, is a source of astonishment but not surprise. Re-animating the 'western' tradition of thought means recovering the sense of astonishment banished from official science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
Number of pages11
JournalEthnos
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • animism
  • relational ontology
  • movement
  • weather-world
  • science

Cite this