A Soul by Any Other Name: The Name-Soul Concept in Circumpolar Perspective

Cross-Cultural Research Vol/Iss. 1 SAGE Publications Published In Pages: 1-38
By Walsh, Matthew J., O'Neill, Seaon, Riede, Felix, Willerslev, Rane


Name-soul belief systems operate under the belief that deceased ancestors will be reincarnated amongst newborn members of the community. This informs the naming process of children amongst these societies. This study samples 11 hunting/gathering/fishing societies with this belief system, comparing and contrasting how the systems are of the same or different origins. Utilizing a neo-functionalist theoretical model the researchers argue that this system reinforces kinship bonds, as new members are viewed as old members returning home, and that the returned ancestors would provide strength and protection to the newborn from more malevolent spirits. The researchers theorize that this practice, in a functionalist anthropology lens, is a way to deal with constant mortality trauma, and to strengthen group cohesion amongst often mobile groups.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment

Hypotheses (1)

No quantitative hypotheses were testedUNKNOWN

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:noah.rossen anj.droe