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Dreaming and the Self

New Perspectives on Subjectivity, Identity, and Emotion

Jeannette Marie Mageo

Publication Year: 2003

Drawing upon original fieldwork, cultural theory, and psychological research, Dreaming and the Self offers new approaches to the self—particularly to subjectivity, identity, and emotion. Through an investigation of dreams in various cultures, the contributors explore how people as subjects actually experience cultural life, how they forge identities out of their cultural and historical experiences, how the cultural and historical worlds in which they live shape even their bodily habits and responses, and how the person as agent responds to and imaginatively recreates his or her culture. These essays demonstrate that dreams reflect tellingly on topics of great currency in anthropology, such as how people personally manage postcolonialism, transnationalism, and migration. Actual dreams are examined, including dreams of Samoan young people about race; of a Haitian priestess about vodou deities; of a Pakistani about spiritual teachers; of psychoanalytic clients in Los Angeles and San Diego about cars, witches, and sex; and of a young Balinese mother about a neglected dog.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Dreaming and the Self

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CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

PART 1: Overview

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1. Theorizing Dreaming and the Self

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pp. 3-22

... Western intellectual history, René Descartes is the prototypical proponent of the model of the person as the “I” who is identical with his reasoning capacity—a capacity carefully disarticulated from affect and embodiment. Descartes begins his first meditation with a reflection on the dream. The evidence that experience is real in dreams, Descartes insists, ...

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2. Subjectivity and Identity in Dreams

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pp. 23-40

... on the edge, as it were, of normative reality, re-presenting it, dreams highlight its anatural character and our “encounter” with this reality. For this reason, the way cultural processes play upon and shape the self is more palpable in dreams than in many other venues. My intent in this chapter is to reflect theoretically on how dreams engage us nightly in what ...

PART 2: Revisioning the Self and Dreams

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3. Diasporic Dreaming, Identity, and Self-Constitution

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pp. 43-60

... effort to understand globalization and the diaspora experience has challenged anthropology’s theoretical apparatus. We can no longer understand culture as a system of meanings that constitutes social reality and shapes the experience of individuals. Anthropologists are now preoccupied with flows of goods, ideas, and people, and with borderlands, where culture ...

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4. Selfscape Dreams

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pp. 61-74

... appear to serve many biological, psychological, and communicative functions.1 These include the imaginary fulfillment of unconscious wishes, the solving of problems, the integration of new experience into emerging schemas of self, the working through and mastery of traumatic experiences and other types of intrapsychic conflict, and the representation ...

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5. Race, Postcoloniality, and Identity in Samoan Dreams

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pp. 75-96

... his seminal work on postcolonial psychology, Fanon (1967) argues that colonialism is a self-negating experience for the colonized that revolves around a symbolism of black and white. I resided in Samoa through most of the 1980s and collected over five hundred dreams. In many of these dreams there is a black/white motif. In this chapter, I use these dreams to ...

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6. Memory, Emotion, and the Imaginal Mind

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pp. 97-13

... studies of dreams, trance, spirit possession, and other alternate states of consciousness have in recent decades contributed rich new understandings of how such apparently abnormal mental states are used in positive and creative ways in many human cultures.1 Yet our models of mind used to account for and interpret such experience remain ...

PART 3: Self-Revelation and Dream Interpretation

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7. Dreams That Speak: Experience and Interpretation

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pp. 133-154

... bold statement is directly relevant to my central thesis, as I hope to demonstrate in what follows. With it, Wax builds on Hallowell’s important earlier work with regard to human evolution and language development, which made it possible for “the inner life of individuals . . . [to] be communicated to others. . . . Dream experiences could become the object of ...

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8. Dream: Ghost of a Tiger, A System of Human Words

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pp. 155-164

... provides a vocabulary for our dreams. Much of it is solitary, confined to the unique experiences we store each day, that we co-opt in our dreams (Freud noted) to represent the dream thoughts to be expressed ([1900]1953). But some of the images we use in our dreams are shared with others of the same cultural community: either drawn from common linguistic ...

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9. The Anthropological Import of Blocked Access to Dream Associations

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pp. 165-174

... fifty years ago, Dorothy Eggan, an unsung pioneer of the systematic anthropological study of dreams, published a paper stressing the anthropological importance of the manifest content of dreams (1952). Since her basic argument is no less cogent today, my aim here is not to refute, but to supplement it. This chapter is based on dreams reported by a young American woman ...

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10. Concluding Reflections

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pp. 175-198

cannot be separated from their conceptualization and theorization, for that conceptualization and theorization affect, if not the experience of the dream, than its report. This proposition is shared, in one fashion or another, by all the contributors to this insightful and innovative collection. It is an important insight and requires elaboration, but before elaborating, I want to note that in most discussions of the dream in different ...

REFERENCES

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pp. 199-222

CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. 223-226

INDEX

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pp. 227-234


E-ISBN-13: 9780791486573
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791457870
Print-ISBN-10: 0791457877

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 1 table
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: SUNY series in Dream Studies
Series Editor Byline: Robert L. Van de Castle

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Dreams.
  • Dream interpretation.
  • Identity (Psychology).
  • Self.
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