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3 Tutorials that teach Animism
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Author: Paul Hannan

Identify the historical implications of animism.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain Tree Public Domain Mountain Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome this episode of Sociology-- Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on animism. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, rewind, or even fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial.

Today, we have a brief tutorial on animism. Now animism really is just the idea that people believe in some supernatural power based on the natural world. It doesn't have to be a specific kind of natural power. It can be all natural powers. It can be looking at a polytheistic view of different aspects, having different powers. It can be any of those things. But it's just this supernatural belief based on the natural world.

Now, the reason we're talking about this in sociology is as we look at religion, the historical context for all religion really comes out of animism. The early religions for humans all were based on some form of animism.

And Durkheim's times three functions of religion, social cohesion, which is keeping groups together; social control, passing on norms; and purpose, giving people purpose for life, all still can happen within an animus religion. There aren't many people in our current modern society who practice a form of animism. But again, it's important for its historical context.

Today's take-away message, we just learned about animism. And that's the belief in a supernatural power based on the natural world.

Well, that's it for this lesson. Good work. And hopefully you'll be seeing you on a screen again soon. Peace.

Terms to Know

A religious belief that holds that the natural world, and elements within it like plants, animals, rocks, and clouds, have consciousness and affect the happenings of humanity.