product description page

Animism in Southeast Asia (Hardcover)

Animism in Southeast Asia (Hardcover) - image 1 of 1

about this item

Animism refers to ontologies or worldviews which assign agency and personhood to human and non-human beings alike. Recent years have seen a revival of this concept in anthropology, where it is now discussed as an alternative to modern-Western naturalistic notions of human-environment relations.

Based on original fieldwork, this book presents a number of case studies of animism from insular and peninsular Southeast Asia and offers a comprehensive overview of the phenomenon – its diversity and underlying commonalities and its resilience in the face of powerful forces of change. Critically engaging with the current standard notion of animism, based on hunter-gatherer and horticulturalist societies in other regions, it examines the roles of life forces, souls and spirits in local cosmologies and indigenous religion. It proposes an expansion of the concept to societies featuring mixed farming, sacrifice and hierarchy and explores the question of how non-human agents are created through acts of attention and communication, touching upon the relationship between animist ontologies, world religion, and the state.

Shedding new light on Southeast Asian religious ethnographic research, the book is a significant contribution to anthropological theory and the revitalization of the concept of animism in the humanities and social sciences.

Animism is the religious worldview that natural physical entities possess a spiritual essence. This book presents a number of case studies of animism from insular and peninsular Southeast Asia and offers a comprehensive overview of the phenomenon ? its diversity and underlying commonalities and its resilience in the face of powerful forces of change.

Based on original fieldwork, the chapters address a variety of topics central to the understanding of animistic worldviews: notions of human-nature relatedness and human-spirit relations, bodily metamorphosis and the constitution of personhood and trans-human sociality. The book looks at the extent to which the new understanding of animism makes sense of or provides new angles on Southeast Asian religious ethnography, and the ways in which Southeast Asian ethnography sheds light on, or contributes to, the theoretical rethinking of animism. It goes on to present particularly poignant ethnography relating to animism in both the inclusive, classical sense (the belief in nature spirits) and the contemporary, more precise sense (as a particular, non-modern type of ontology/epistemology). The book is a significant contribution to anthropological theory and the revitalization of the concept of animism in the humanities and social sciences.

Number of Pages: 325
Genre: Social Science
Sub-Genre: Ethnology
Series Title: Routledge Contemporary Southeast Asia
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Language: English
Street Date: November 20, 2015
TCIN: 16105505
UPC: 9780415713795
Item Number (DPCI): 247-21-1257
$152.00
MSRPReg: $160.00 Save $8.00 (5% off)

guest reviews

Prices, promotions, styles and availability may vary by store & online. See our price match guarantee. See how a store is chosen for you.