Chapter

Animism as Mimesis

Rane Willerslev

in Soul Hunters

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780520252165
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941007 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520252165.003.0003
Animism as Mimesis

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This chapter introduces the Yukaghirs, a small group of indigenous hunters settled near the Upper Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia. It shows that these hunters believe that persons can take a number of forms, and that humans and animals can move in and out of the perspectives of different species by temporarily taking on each others' bodies. The chapter furthermore shows that it is this capacity to take on the appearance and viewpoint of another being which is one of the key aspects of being a person, and also tries to illustrate a new approach to the “problem” of animism.

Keywords: Yukaghirs; mimesis; animism problem

Chapter.  11522 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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