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What is Animism

Handbook of Research on Knowledge-Intensive Organizations
The alphabet maybe viewed as a form of animism; words on a page speak as one reads. This is viewed as originating in a pre-auditory animism which became expressed in media with distinct aural and visual content (cuneiform and hieroglyphics), and thence fed into the evolution of literacy as represented in the alphabet. Animism is viewed as a vital force contained within language; partly sublimated by the forms of rational description but nevertheless containing the embers of an earlier pre-alphabetical mental seizure of the mind by voices perceived in separateness in nature; now harnessed to the “book”.
Published in Chapter:
Tyranny of the Eye? The Resurgence of the Proto-Alphabetic Sensibility in Contemporary Electronic Modes of Media (PC/Mobile Telephony); and its Significance for the Status of Knowledge
Stephen Sheard (Bradford University, UK)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-176-6.ch009
In this chapter the author offers an argument towards the resurgence of a proto-alphabetic imagination in electronic and mobile communications. It is suggested that contemporary trends in mobile telephony which encapsulate the earlier advances in PC development are shifting electronic media – not towards a mythic culture of the aural (McLuhan) but towards an admixture of the aural and visual, aslant the controlling trope of the alphabetical. It is argued that this separation of technologies resembles the predecessors of writing technologies of a “proto”-alphabetic nature. This infuses the literature of management with a metaphysical animism, which is redolent of the faded animism, which marked the initial confluence of the pre-alphabetical sensibilities of Eye and Voice in the pre-alphabetic emergence of mankind. This is suggested as a fresh Symbolic form towards which mankind is advancing. The confluence of ideological tensions preceding these developments is traced; including debates as to conflicts of Word and Sacred (Ricoeur); or Postmodern aversion towards contemporary ocular dominance. This debate leads towards an evaluation of the role and significance of kinds of knowledge which underpin our knowledge society and the knowledge which we take to constitute “knowledge management”.
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