From ethnographic regionalism to psychological reductionism
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With the increase in ethnographic research in the fieid, well-documented monographs have been produced which provide new data on shamanism. All of these, however, focus on a particular region and, while they enable us to gain a better understanding of the diverse social contexts in which shamanism is found, such monographs have shifted attention away from an interest in the comparative work required to formulate a general theory of the collective (social and symbolic) dimensions of the phenomenon. The great evolutionist and comparativist essays of the beginning of the century soon went out of fashion and their conclusions were strongly contested. Psychological approaches which focus on the personality of the shaman came to dominate research and scientific debates, both in *Russian and Soviet anthropology (Shirikogorov 1935) and in American cultural anthropology (such as the *culture and personality school), as well as the history of religions.