An anthropologist with a doctorate in linguistics and a doctorate in literature and humanities, Roberte Hamayon was a researcher at the CNRS and then director of studies at the École pratique des hautes études. She directed the Laboratory of Ethnology and Comparative Sociology at the University of Nanterre Paris X. She first devoted herself to the study of the Mongolian language and to the ethnography of the daily life of the Mongols and Buryats, among whom she carried out numerous missions from 1967 onwards. Roberte Hamayon founded and directed the Centre for Mongolian Studies and the journal Études mongoles et sibériennes. More recently, she has been working on the recomposition of identity in a post-communist context. She was awarded the silver medal of the CNRS in 2006. In her work on shamanism, a theme that was to become the main focus of her research, she was led to deepen, among other things, the study of epics, the imaginary of hunting and to analyse the notion of “play”, widely used in ritual life. A practice deeply in tune with nature and the animal world, the shamanic ritual features a man who takes on the appearance of an animal to seduce the soul of a female deer. This symbolic marriage legitimises the killing of animals that will be killed during the hunt and consumed afterwards. Reduced to a therapeutic practice for reasons of adaptation to the ideology imposed by Russian colonisation, shamanism has nevertheless retained an essential place in the world view of the Siberian peoples and in the ecological identity they claim. Shamanism continues... transformed.
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