Hunting animism: human–animal transformations among the Siberian Yukaghirs

Authored by: Rane Willerslev

The Handbook of Contemporary Animism

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844657117
eBook ISBN: 9781315728964
Adobe ISBN: 9781317544500


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For the Siberian Yukaghirs the world is animated with living souls in the sense of Tylorian “animism”. 1 As Yukaghirs say: “The world is full of vision, full of eyes”; seeing is universal and everything, from animals, rivers, lakes and trees to spirits and even shadows, has a perspective of its own that returns our gaze. If we are to take this seriously, not as a vague intuition but as a fact of vision, then everything is tangled in a web of seeing and being seen and no one is simply an “observer” and nothing just an “object”; there is only a sentient world crowded with eyes.

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