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Ambivalence and penetration of boundaries in the worship of Dionysos: Analysing the enacting of psychical conflicts in religious ritual and myth, with reference to societal structure

Raj, Shehzad D (2018) Ambivalence and penetration of boundaries in the worship of Dionysos: Analysing the enacting of psychical conflicts in religious ritual and myth, with reference to societal structure. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This thesis draws on Freud to understand the innate human need to create boundaries and argues that ambivalence is an inescapable dilemma in their creation. It argues that a re-reading of Freud’s major thesis in Totem and Taboo via an engagement with the Dionysos myth and cult scholarship allows for a new understanding of dominant forms of hegemonic psychic and social formations that attempt to keep in place a false opposition of polis and phusis, self and Other, resulting in the perpetuation of oppressive structures and processes. The primary methodological claim of the thesis is that prior psychoanalytic engagements with cultus scholarship have suffered from being either insufficiently thorough or diffused in attempts to be comparative. A more holistic and detailed approach allows us to ground a psychoanalytic interpretation in the realities of said culture, allowing us to critique Freud’s misreading of Dionysos regarding the Primal Father and the psychic transmission of the Primal Crime. This thesis posits that Dionysos needs to acknowledged as a projection of the Primal Father fantasy linked to a basic ambivalence about the necessity of boundaries in psychosocial life. Using research from the classics and psychoanalysis alongside Queer and post-colonial theory, as well as extensive fieldwork and primary source analysis, this thesis provides a grounded materialist critique of psychoanalysis’ complicity in reproducing a false dichotomy between polis and phusis, a dichotomy that furthers the projection onto marginalised groups whose othering is linked to a fear and desire of a return to phusis and denial of its constant presence in the psyche and polis. This re-reading of Dionysos challenges the defensive structures, which are organised around ideas of subjectification that posit that phusis must be severed from polis/ego and projected onto Dionysos and all groups that threaten the precariousness of these boundaries.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dionysos, Dionysus, Classics, Cult, Religion, Sacrifice, Queer Theory, Post-Colonial Theory, Psychoanalysis, Ancient Greece, Marginalisation, Ritual, Cannibalism, Sexuality, Gender, Mythology, Otherness, Dionysiac, Ecstasy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
D History General and Old World > DF Greece
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Shehzad Raj
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2018 14:57
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2018 14:57

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