Fear and Madness: A Prelude for the Anthropological Study of Genre-Literature

  • Bojan Žikić Department of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
anthropology, genre literature, science fiction, fiction and horror, fear and madness, space and time, cultural communication


This paper represents a continuation of my previous analysis of the motive of the overlapping of spatial and/or temporal dislocation, with such a dislocation in a mental and/or real meaning, in the work of Stephen King. In this paper, I consider the same motive in the so-called genre literature. This label, referring to science fiction, fantasy and horror, is used to display the criteria that the form of cultural communication we commonly call "literature" has to fulfill in order to be subject to valid anthropological analysis and interpretation. Starting from the premise that – if we aspire to meaningful conclusions – the subject of research must be shared, or common, I have studied the genre usage of the mentioned motive in the communicational sense both in the context of New England’s literary tradition and sci-fi, fantasy and horror as such. The conclusions support some premises of anthropological theory: the necessity of existence of certain communicational resources common to individual creators and their audience, and the necessity of shared competence for the use of those resources.


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How to Cite
Žikić, Bojan. 2006. “Fear and Madness: A Prelude for the Anthropological Study of Genre-Literature”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 1 (2), 45-58. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v1i2.2.

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