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Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan.

Tylor’s theory of animism has been rejected by most. But contemporary animists do not offer assertions about the origins, development and true nature of all religion, but a focused discussion about particular ways of being related to the world. Like the earlier theory it is entangled with notions of materiality, but now this arises from a challenge to discourses that divide spirit and flesh, soul and body, subject and object, life and matter, supernatural and natural, culture and nature, people and environment, community and resources, and so on. In dialogue with particular indigenous ontologies, epistemologies and cosmovisions, the new animism contests modernist preconceptions and invites the widening of relational engagements generated and enhanced by gift exchanges and other forms of mutuality. In both indigenous and Western forms, animism encourages humans to see the world as a diverse community of living persons worthy of particular kinds of respect.