P44
The value of dreams and dreaming
Convenors:
Simone Dennis (Australian National University)
Andrew Dawson (University of Melbourne)
Format:
Panels
Location:
Gumnut (S204), R.N Robertson Building
Sessions:
Tuesday 3 December, 16:15-18:00

Short abstract:

Thinking through dreaming has been of historical value to anthropology, from Culture and Personality to Structuralism to psychological anthropology. We seek papers that articulate new value that might be accorded to dreams and dreaming.

Long abstract:

Thinking through dreaming has been of historical value to anthropology. Much was made of it the "Culture and Personality" school of North American psychological anthropologists, and it has certainly inspired some interesting structuralist analyse. Presently, the value of anthropologically analysing dreaming has been variously articulated. One value lies in its capacity to get at time. [The] Dreaming reaches into an ancestral past, knitting it together with present and future. Dreams might be oneiromancitic; a person might portend or predict the future in a dream, permitting her to reach forward in time. Interstitiality might characterise dreaming, as the dreamer occupies a liminal world between sleeping and an awakeness to spiritual realms, where they might receive special revelation of use in the waking world. Psychological analyses dig into the similarities and differences between cultural dreaming, and its place in metaphorical expression reveals its role in giving form and shape to our aspirations, hopes, fears and longings. There are also communicative theories of dreaming that assert instrumental outcomes, leading to Herdt's proposition, "that culture may actually change experience inside of dreams, or that the productions of dreaming do actually become absorbed and transformed into culture", indicating that dreaming has been useful to considerations of questions of structure and agency, and the role of 'culture' as an explanatory grounds for social life. Against this background of value, we seek papers that articulate new value that might be accorded to dreams and dreaming.