Animism’ is now an important term for describing ways in which some people understand and engage respectfully with the larger-than-human world. Its central theme is our relationship with our other-than-human neighbours, such as animals, plants, rocks, and kettles, rooted in the understanding that the term ‘person’ includes more than humans. Graham Harvey explores the animist cultures of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians and eco-Pagans, introducing their diversity and considering the linguistic, performative, ecological and activist implications of these different animisms.
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 persons; and its use of major ethnographic sources as evidence, together with conversations with indigenous peoples. -- Professor Stewart Guthrie, Fordham University 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
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