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Animism - Concepts, Cultural Implications, Bibliography

intellectual indigenous study religious

Animism has had a long and important history in anthropology and outside it, as an intellectual concept with important implications not only for the study of religion, but also for the political struggles of indigenous peoples around the world. The anthropological study of animism has been a two-edged sword for indigenous people. It has brought their religious concepts, and thus their rich intellectual and spiritual lives, to the attention of the world, demonstrating the intrinsic value of their cultures. But to the extent that the apparent contrast between monotheistic and animistic religions has been exaggerated and used to create an artificial hierarchy of religious thought, it has also been used against them, to denigrate their beliefs and their intellectual capacities, and thus to deny them full equality with their colonizers.

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