Indigenous Religions and the Debate over Primitivism
This chapter expresses that the academic study of Indigenous Religions is not vulnerable to the insightful critiques articulated so forcefully by Armin Geertz, a specialist in the Hopi peoples of North America and a scholar of religions at Aarhus University in Denmark. It then presents an overall argument to a conclusion by contributing to three inter-related debates around the recent revival of Western primitivism. The debate about Indigenous Religions as a contemporary form of primitivism has been advanced by Geertz. Geertz follows this historical survey by attacking the assumptions used to distinguish indigenous from other types of societies, which he claims depend on artificial antitheses constructed by academics. The theory of social constructionism, particularly its central thesis that 'all social phenomenon are merely contingent constructions', entails for Campbell a series of disabling contradictions. The term neo-shamanism specifically is applied to contemporary Western movements that incorporate traditional shamanic techniques, which the practitioners describe as the most ancient form of religion.