Anthropology of Fiction


Anthropology of Fiction

Reading, or writing a good fiction book can be culturally and politically immersive. Authors like Ursula K. Le Guin have literally created entire civilizations through the written word, and used them to explore many anthropological themes.

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Worlds of fiction 23 Replies

Started by Keith Hart. Last reply by Philip Swift Aug 26, 2010.

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Comment by Gauri on July 22, 2009 at 3:37am

I think we should agree to disagree with them on this one. I agree with you, studying the result of the writings of popular authors on people is important because it will definitely give us important insights into various aspects of the society.
Comment by Anne Gilbert on July 21, 2009 at 11:15pm

There's absolutely nothing wrong with tis approach, if that's what you want to do. Just don't assume that more "popular" writers have "nothing to say"; studying them might actually open up insights into certain aspects of society that might otherwise be missed.
Anne G
Comment by NIKOS GOUSGOUNIS on July 21, 2009 at 9:48am
Right , Layla, if it's to study the social or anthropological impact of these authors to the public, this is another matter, nothing to have with the literate value. But there are so many good and interesting authors waiting to be examined or even discovered by some readers far from the fashion and the popular best selling advertisements.... I think the task of this group might be to discover and/or to propose to other members such authors of the past and the present....
Comment by Luka Rejec on July 21, 2009 at 7:33am
Layla, doesn't that pretty much tally with the role of the warrior? A person anointed and dehumanized through rituals until he (usually) is in a liminal stage, half-way outside human society, and can then in a state of war become in some ways a killing machine avatar of the collective, turning murder into sacrifice for the common good?

That's also a basis for the distinction of murderers, terrorists and soldier right there. A murder is the embodiment of nobody, a terrorist is the embodiment of an illegitimate (to whom?) collective, a soldier is the embodiment of a legitimate (to whom?) collective.
Comment by Layla AbdelRahim on July 21, 2009 at 6:22am
Hey, Nikos, never underestimate the power of the bogeyman!
And actually, I do talk about Harry Potter, sometimes - just this past January gave a paper on the underlying narrative of legal versus illegal murder and the civilisation's death script in children's books and then discussed it with John Zerzan on his Anarchy Radio on February 17th. It is fascinating how so many people want their children to be entertained with the idea that there is a chosen people who can go around killing right and left instead of rearing them in security and mutual aid. And that which baffles me I find interesting to study. Isn't that why so many anthropologists love to delve into realms alien to them?

If you're interested in the radio talk show, there's a link to it on my page and I'll be posting the papers later in the season:
Comment by Anne Gilbert on July 20, 2009 at 11:25pm

Like Gauri says, you are entitled to your opinion about Stephen King or any other author. If you prefer "serious" literature, that is fine. But to claim he is "garbage" just because you don't like his subjects, style, or writing, is doing him, and a lot of other authors who are popular, and a lot of people enjoy reading, is doing him, and a lot of other authors, a tremendous disservice, IMO. I think it is significant that you also lump J.k.Rowling, the author of the Harry Pooter series, in this same category. Whatever "literary" merits they may have, I, personally think these authors are perfectly fit subjects for discussions around the anthropology of fiction. Whether or not they have "literary" merit, in your view, they most certainly provide a window into certain aspects of culture, at least certain aspects of Western culture. YOu might want to consider looking at them in this light.
Anne G
Comment by NIKOS GOUSGOUNIS on July 20, 2009 at 6:44pm
But are we serious here to be occupied to deal with such minor serialised authors
as Steven King, just because his books and senarios are best selling and box office ? Why not to start to speak then about Coelhio and Harry Potter series too ? I think it's a cultural trend how sad is this american subculture of horror b -series demi journalistic demi television style to find fans in a country with such a deep culture as India where a poet and writer as Tagor wrote his treasures of WORLD LITERATURE
Comment by Gauri on July 20, 2009 at 5:39pm
@ Nikos: You are entitled to your opinion but to expect others to be in agreement with your opinion would be a fallacious. I, for one, enjoy reading Stephen King's writing and I think his writing would be extremely interesting to study just to see why it has gained such popularity.
Comment by NIKOS GOUSGOUNIS on July 20, 2009 at 9:49am
About Gauri's other serious question i think that ANTHROPOLOGY OF FICTION is a board subject where real FICTION can explain why somuch part of our anthropological way of thinking is still ( thank's God) so much subjective that comes close to what we call fiction.
Comment by NIKOS GOUSGOUNIS on July 20, 2009 at 9:46am
sorry to say this to Steven King's fans but this author is A PURE GURBAGE just like Coelhio and nobody here can notice this ?

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