In this elegantly argued and compelling study, French anthropologist Marc Augé continues his critical exploration of contemporary modernity with an examination of the role of dreams, myth and fiction in the age of satellite TV and the Internet – a world in which information overload threatens to colonise us all, and to destroy the very real distinctions between fact (the real) and fiction (those invented ways in which we have, over the years and in very different communities, made sense of our collective identity in the face of otherness). Drawing on ethnographic material from several continents, and in particular his work on the impact of colonialism, Augé demonstrates the symbolic working of myth as a source of creativity in traditional, colonial and modernising societies and considers the consequences of the present-day confusion over reality and image, as reality is ‘fictionalised‘ by the onslaught of the mass media. As a result, he argues in this strikingly original and beautifully written study, we not only lose our sense of reality – but also our ability to create those fictions which have for so long sustained our collective sense of identity.
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