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The Human Perspective

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image of Inner Asia

This article examines possible perspectivist phenomena in the ritual practices and ontology of the Duha reindeer herders of Northern Mongolia. My theoretical point of departure is Viveiros de Castro’s recent theories on perspectivism in the Amazon, and Pedersen’s theories about a distinct Inner Asian perspectivism limited to the human realm. Based on my fieldwork amongst the Duhas, I propose that, laypersons’ manipulations of amulets and shamanic rituals are indeed perspectivist phenomena, where humans switch perspective with the ongons (shamanic helper spirits) and vice versa. It will be shown how the fundamental dialectic in Duha perspectivism is one between seniority (mastery) and juniority (submission), and howthis dialectic serves to challenge and broaden the mainly hierarchical nature of everyday social life.


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