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Political Myth: A Theoretical Introduction (Gavin Flood) Paperback Book, (Routledge, 1996) 9780415936323

Title: Political Myth: A Theoretical Introduction

Author: Flood, Gavin

Publisher: Routledge/Taylor & Francis; Publication Date: 1996

Paperback; ISBN: 9780415936323

Volumes: 1; Pages: 328

List Price in Paper: $37.95 Our price: $37.95

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Myth theorists characterize myths as stories that possess the status of sacred truth within one or more social groups. Flood discusses how political myth is an ideologically marked narrative that purports to give a true account of a set of past, present, or predicted political events, widely accepted as valid in its essentials. Among the topics explored are: the historical line of political myth in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Western political discourse; the characteristics of political myths and the forms they take in political life and the ends they serve; and the features of political ideologies that are most useful for understanding the nature of political myth.

"... fulfils a need in a number of disciplines. Political scientists, anthropologists and sociologists as well as scholars of religion will find this book extremely useful."--Religion

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Foreword


I. Political Ideology Preliminary Considerations

The Pervasiveness of Ideology

Functions, Uses and Types

II. Sacred Myth/Political Myth

Sacred Myth: Form, Content and Status

The Functions of Sacred Myth

Political Myth: A Definition

III. Telling Myths

True Myths?

Myth as a Deliberate Falsehood or Distortion

Practical Thinking?

Ambiguous Motive and Cumulative Processes

Postscript: A Note on Political Fiction

IV. Believing Myths

Irrational Beliefs?

Cognitive Approaches

Rational Beliefs?

An Example

V. Questions of Form

Problems of Definition (1)

Problems of Definition (2)

Problems of Definition (3)

Basic Considerations on Argument and Narrative

Form and Function

VI. Ideological Meaning in History

A Model for Comparison

Implications and Applications

Example 1

Example 2

Historical Determinism

A Note on Story Types

VII. Icons, Indexes and Rituals

Roland Barthes on Myth

Iconic Vehicles of Political Myths

Indexical Evocations of Political Myths

Relationships between Political Rituals and Political Myths

VIII. Case Studies in Mythopoeic Narrative

(1) De Gaulle's "Bayeux Constitution"

The Historical Context

Description of the Ceremony

Analysis of the Ceremony

Summary of the Speech

Decline and Fall

Suffering, Sacrifice and Rebirth


The Leader

Concluding Discussion

IX. Case Studies in Mythopoeic Narrative:

(2) The Story of Wilma Mankiller

The Presentation of the Wilma Mankiller Story

Plot and Story

Narrative 1

Narrative 2

Narrative 3

The Assimilation of the Native American

X. Case Studies in Mythopoeic Narrative:

(3) A Note on Cassirer as Mythmaker

Outline of the Book

The Narrative Dimension

The Direction of History




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