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Róheim, G. (1921). Primitive Man and Environment. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 2:157-178.

(1921). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 2:157-178

Primitive Man and Environment

G. Róheim

The problems that arise from the interaction of primitive man and his environment are, speaking in general terms, the subject-matter of the science of anthropogeography. We do not intend to throw even a cursory glance at such a vast topic in this article; the question we are concerned with is, how these biological relations are reflected in the psychic life of the individual and society.

At the very outset of our investigations our attention must be riveted on a very general, probably universal, aspect of primitive culture: we mean totemism. Totemism is the belief in the existence of a specific magico-religious connexion between a human group and a natural species. If we start from the assumption, as we are compelled to, that primitive beliefs, or indeed beliefs in general, although they may not represent a rendering of facts

1 The view of totemism advocated here is not completely new, as similar comments on this subject have been made by B. Anckermann: "Das Problem des Totemismus", Korrespondenzblatt für Anthropologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte, 1910, S. 80; Id.: "Ausdrucks- und Spieltätigkeit als Grundlage des Totemismus", Anthropos, X/XI, S. 586; E. Reuterskiöld: Die Entstehung der Speisesacramente, 1912, S. 80; Id.: Anthropos, 1914, S. 650; Gräbner: Anthropos, 1915/16, S. 255; H. Werner: Die Ursprünge der Metapher, 1919, S.

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