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Title: Deeper into the labyrinth : a study of the impact of risk narratives on culture, based on two urban legends spread by email in Mexico City (2005-2007)
Author: Enríquez-Soltero, Gonzalo
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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Despite the late stage of modernity we live in, urban legends, an already prolific form of folklore, have become even more prone to retransmission within the internet. This thesis aims to understand why and how these contemporary folk tales are so widely believed and disseminated. Two crime legends that spread in Mexico City through email from 2005 to 2007 will be studied as narratives that address some of the most pressing problems as perceived by a given population, engaging human beings principally by helping to make sense of hostile environments, binding together human groups through fear and collective reassurance, and fulfilling a basic, atavistic compulsion in human beings towards conflict and its representations. Urban legends about ongoing crime seem to give momentary relief to the people engaging with them, but may ultimately aggravate the vision they hold of their surrounding reality and erode their context at large. Metaphorically, they can be compared to the use of cigarettes to alleviate stress. As a result, such urban legends may be regarded as negative and deluding stories leading a culture, as the title suggests, deeper into the 'labyrinth' it most fears. The thesis concludes that this ongoing narrative construction of social fears may thus indeed have detrimental consequences, such as lessening the living standards of whole communities and deteriorating their social fabric.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Mexico) (CONACYT) ; Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) ; Mexico
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GR Folklore ; HM Sociology