Social Myths and Collective Imaginaries

Social Myths and Collective Imaginaries

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By Gérard Bouchard
Translated by Howard Scott
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2017
World Rights
176 Pages
Paper
ISBN 9781442629073
Published Jan 2017
Online discount: 25%
 $24.95    $18.71
Cloth
ISBN 9781442631908
Published Jan 2017
Online discount: 25%
 $60.00    $45.00
Description
Author
Contents
Reviews

Western or Eastern, ancient or modern, religious or scientific, myths are strikingly underestimated forces in contemporary society. In our rational, enlightened and supposedly civilized society myths have come to be perceived as the exclusive attribute of so-called pre-modern societies.

In Social Myths and Collective Imaginaries, Gérard Bouchard conceptualizes myths as vessels of sacred values that transcend the division between primitive and modern. These vessels become so influential as to make an indelible impression on people’s minds. We may no longer speak of Aphrodite or Gilgamesh but freedom, equality, social justice, environmentalism, democracy and nationalism are sacred values in our world.  Nobody would deny that equality for all citizens in France, the right to property in the United States, or racial equality in South Africa are sacrosanct. Bouchard’s refreshing and startling analysis reveals that as a sociological mechanism, myths have the power to bring societies together as well as tear them apart. In his own way, Bouchard awakens us to the transcendent power of myth that affects our daily lives, frequently unbeknownst to us.

Gérard Bouchard is a professor in the Department of Human Sciences at the Université du Québec Á Chicoutimi. He is a past winner of the Governor General’s Award as well as the John A. Macdonald Prize.

Howard Scott is a Montreal translator and past winner of the Governor General’s Award for translation.

Introduction

Chapter 1 - Myths and Collective Imaginaries

Chapter 2 - What is a social myth?

Chapter 3 - The Mythification Process

Chapter 4 - The Conditions for the Effectiveness of Myth

Chapter 5 - Social Myths: A Pyramidal Structure

General Conclusion

Bibliography

Notes

"Social Myths and Collective Imaginaries is a brilliant work, written with great clarity and purpose. Gérard Bouchard displays clear mastery over the role and place of myth in modern society. Drawing upon philosophy, social science, and popular culture, Social Myths and Collective Imaginaries should become a staple in cultural sociology courses."

Ronald Eyerman, Department of Sociology, Yale University

"In Social Myths and Collective Imaginaries Gérard Bouchard successfully develops a very thoughtful and very ambitious framework for analyzing the role of cultural myths in social life. Bouchard’s scholarship is sound and reflects his vast knowledge of sociological studies by both English and French scholars."

Scott Schaffer, Department of Sociology, Western University