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Title: Pan stalks America : contemporary American anxieties and cultural complex theory
Author: Fontelieu, Suzanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 9154
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2014
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This study contributes to a better understanding of contemporary anxieties in American culture by applying meanings derived from mythology to panic inducing cultural phenomena. It asks if the Greek god Pan metaphorically exemplifies the archetypal core within an American cultural anxiety complex. The principal technical device used is Jung's method of amplification, rendering cultural material at a more psychologically substantial level. This hermeneutic research interprets primary sources and commentaries for three historical events. A pattern of escalating anxiety in America is posited as underlying bullying and scapegoating that led to the 1999 Columbine massacre. In 2001, American reactions following the terr,orist attack on 9111 congealed into panic-driven legislation and escapism. Currently approximately 26,000 military personnel are raped by their peers, aided by apathy that allows a persecutory element within the military to remain in command. These problems fall within the mythological purview of Pan. Manifest destiny, exceptionalism, the historical domination of the Mideast, bullying in public schools, and the chain of commarid in the military are all examples of a dominant group negatively projecting onto an out-group. This thesis found the best predictor of the birth of a cultural complex is if a dominant group or culture has inadequate means to examine its own projections. Pan and his companion nymphs are envisioned here as both a defensive shell of "exceptionalism" and a core naivete in American culture. Pan's compulsion into life is a symbolic expression of an archetype that was once alive in the bold spirit of America, but has rusted into paralysis due to a lack of initiative towards contemporary problems. Where the US once unconsciously identified with the most courageous and expansive in the Pan archetype, now the archetype of panic stalks America.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available