Boundary Crossing of Animism under Different Cultures


Yi Zhang * 1

1 University of Pittsburgh, 4200 Fifth Ave

Corresponding Author

Yi Zhang


human-object interaction, Mia Couto, animism, anthropology, boundary-crossing, biosemiotics


Animism has been one set of beliefs that receives increasing attention and popularity in multiple academic fields such as anthropology and philosophy. This article starts with introducing the definition of animism and techno-animism. Then, it will move to talk about the manifestations of the Shinto-Infused animism in Japanese culture. By adducing examples from the Mozambican literature, indigenous beliefs of the Kelabit and the Penan in Southeast Asia, and how children and adults treat and interact with robots and inanimate in the Western society, we will finally reach the conclusion that 1) on the one hand, there are some common interpretations and manifestations of animism shared by people in different cultures, such as tolerance of boundary-crossing and rendering inanimate objects with life forces; and 2) on the other hand, animism is not antithetical to Western conceptions of human-object relation.


Yi Zhang. Boundary Crossing of Animism under Different Cultures. CHR (2021) CHR ICEIPI 2021: 51-56. DOI: 10.54254/chr.iceipi.2021214.


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