Archetypes and/or Stereotypes – Mapping Socio-Cultural Realities
The academic journal Messages, Sages and Ages (http://www.msa.usv.ro/), based at the English Department, University of Suceava, Romania, invites contributions for an issue on archetypes and/or stereotypes. The theme issue is edited by Dan Nicolae Popescu (University of Suceava, Romania).
According to C.G. Jung, archetypes can be described as universal mythic characters that reside in the collective unconscious of people(s) throughout the world. They are recurring patterns (character types, plot structures, symbols, and themes) that occur in mythology, religion, and stories across cultures, societies, and time periods. As such, they personify universal meanings and basic human experiences and can trigger unconscious responses in a reader. Archetypes can also help people understand common traits they share with others outside their own culture and to interpret situations and characters that might otherwise be quite different from themselves. L. Nielsen, on the other hand, considers that archetypes are made of personality traits built on ideals of basic human patterns that appear as blends of stabled characteristics defining the individual person. Thus, archetypes as theorized by Nielsen relate to three main dimensions exemplifying psychological preferences of an individual: extrovert-introvert, sensory-intuition, or thinking-feeling. These characteristics and dimensions, it follows, possess the potential to communicate relevant user data (individual and collective) in the configuration process of socio-cultural construction.
Stereotypes, by contrast, are but shortcomings that archetypal representations can easily result into. Stereotypes are simplified clichéd ideas that express the way humans categorize people who are or appear alike by providing social images as synthesized reasons of why Others act as they do. Under the circumstances, reinvented archetypal representations of culture and society run the risk of re-inscribing existing stereotypes within the bounds of a user-centered approach. Placing socio-cultural construction at a point of confluence between archetypes and stereotypes, we experience a perpetually re-written/re-read text that survives by successive re-contextualizations of its fundamental patterns. Ultimately, these re-contextualizations pertain to a continuous process of negotiation supported by the basic human need to assimilate otherness and define ourselves with relation to it.
Possible topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- (The study of) Archetypal criticism
- From mythic archetype to media stereotype: symbol and story
- Cliché, trope, archetype, stereotype: the politics of (story)telling
- Language-based approaches to stereotype formation
- Revisiting archetypes on and off screen
- Cultural archetypes and national stereotyping
- Stereotypical slurs and archetypal sins