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see animismanimism,
belief in personalized, supernatural beings (or souls) that often inhabit ordinary animals and objects, governing their existence. British anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Tylor argued in Primitive Culture
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



belief in an impersonal indwelling of souls in nature or in its component parts and phenomena, a characteristic of primitive religions.

Animatism must be distinguished from hylozoism and animism, which believe in personal nonmaterial beings (spirits) present, as it were, in certain objects or phenomena. The question of when animatism arose in the history of social awareness has not yet been resolved by science. Certain scholars (L. Ia. Shternberg and others) regard animatism as an earlier stage in the development of religion than animism; others (such as V. G. Bogoraz-Tan) believe that they coexisted.


Tokarev, S. A. Rannie formy religii i ikh razvitie. Moscow, 1964.
Shternberg, L. Ia. Pervobytnaia religiia v svele etnografii. Leningrad, 1935.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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