Abstract

In a wide range of contemporary debates on Japanese cultures of technological practice, brief reference is often made to distinct Shinto legacies, as forming an animist substratum of indigenous spiritual beliefs and cosmological imaginations. Japan has been described as a land of Shinto-infused techno-animism: exhibiting a‘polymorphous perversity that resolutely ignores boundaries between human, animal, spiritual and mechanical beings. In this article, we deploy instances of Japanese techno-animism as sites of theoretical experimentation on what Bruno Latour calls a symmetrical anthropology of nature-cultures. In staging a dialogue between actor-network theory and Japanese techno-animism, we show how Shinto cosmograms provide an enlivening and alternative diffraction device on several of the ontological motifs manifested in Latour’s work. In particular, by mobilizing the territory of a new animism debate in anthropology – manifested in the work of Philippe Descola and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro – we attempt to infuse Latourian multinaturalism with new, other-than-western analytical energy. Extending actor-network theory, we argue, Shinto cosmograms offer an interesting vantage point for interpreting the immanent, affective, enchanting and enabling powers of non-humans in contributing to collective life.


Type

Journal Article

Volume

30

Date

March 1, 2013

Webpage

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Creators

Jensen, Casper Bruun (Author)
Blok, Anders (Author)

Issue

2

DOI
10.1177/0263276412456564


Professional Fields