Shirokogoroff, Sergei Mikhailovich

Shirokogoroff, Sergei Mikhailovich (1887–1939) – Russian ethnographer whose expertise in psychiatry and extensive field observations of the Evenk (Tungus) in the 1930s, including performing the role of shaman’s assistant on a number of occasions, led him to challenge the view that shamans were neurotics. He preferred to focus on the ecstatic experiences of shamans and their abilities as masters of spirits to control as allies the other-than-human persons they encountered. In his classic work Psychomental Complex of the Tungus (1935), Shirokogoroff discusses the Evenk tribes from whom the term shaman derives, and it is from this more focused starting point that such scholars as Mircea Eliade picked up, generalized, and popularized the term.

SOURCE:

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007

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