The ecstatics assembled at Kataragama are constantly inventing myths through hypnomantic means — dreams vision, trance, mediumship. Yet it is wrong to assume with Karl Abraham that the myth is the dream of the culture. The dream, and other hypnomantic visions, are the model for the myth.
Gananath Obeyesekere, Medusa's Hair. Mechanisms that transform private symbols into public symbols have up to now failed to win much attention from social anthropologists, who, when they perceive psychoanalytical factors beginning to enter their analyses, typically repel them firmly as being beyond the boundaries of their concerns.
The author of this book has a different cast of mind. He is convinced that the mechanisms by which private symbols generate public ones are part of the same process by which public symbols engage the emotions of individuals. Medusa's Hair consists of a series of case studies constructed around interviews Dr.
Obeyesekere conducted with several ecstatic religious figures at the great pilgrimage centre of Kataragama in southern Sri Lanka. But the author's investigation ranges wider. He adopts the position that the mutual influence of unconscious motivations of individuals and the collective symbols of the societies to which those individuals belong is a topic that should be considered vitally significant to social anthropology — quite clearly contrary, of course, to the situation at present.
What makes his book so argumentatively effective is that Obeyesekere focuses continually on this psychoanalytic-social interface, without ever once emphasizing the study of the individual over the study of social facts or vice versa.
Thus what appears as a conjunction of two fields of study eventually blends into one. As he takes pains to stress, his study tries to reconcile certain of the ideas 3.
According to Durkheim, cultural norms and collective representations act directly on the passive individual, constraining him to. This idea of constraint developed into what Obeyesekere p. By contrast, he argues, Weber regards persons and groups as actively relating to their culture via consciousness: Sharing a common culture does not imply that two individuals have to act in an identical or even similar way, but only that they can express their dissimilar behavior in relation to shared values.
The existence of behavioral regularity may often indicate the existence of shared culture, but the absence of behavioral regularity or shared behavior does not necessarily suggest its absence. Since they are internalized, ideas must therefore be mediated through consciousness.
Considerations of this sort lead Obeyesekere to the general proposition that cultural ideas are being constantly validated by the nature of subjective experience.
That he succeeds in his argumentas a result of the integrity of his detailed ethnographic data, the confidence his sober method of investigation inspires, and the compelling logic with which he pursues his exposition. Medusa's Hair, in my view, is one of the most important books the anthropological discipline has produced in the last two decades.This item: Medusa's Hair: An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience by Gananath Obeyesekere Paperback $ In Stock.
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Medusa's hair: an essay on personal symbols and religious experience, by Gananath Obeyesekere, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Central to the development of psychological approaches within anthropology (reviewed for example in Paul Paul, RA. Psychoanalytic anthropology. Annual Reviews in Anthropology, – Homophobia essay papers college industrial revolution essay conclusion starters my life experience essay good persuasive essay introductions roper logan and tierney care plan essay help cause and effect essay college dropout global warming essay pdf reviews medlink research paper Essay experience hair medusas personal religious symbol.
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