Gilbert Durand and Folklore: Theriomorphic Images and Their Symbolic Values in the Anthropological Structures of the Imaginary


MILLI FOLKLOR, vol.17, no.129, pp.32-44, 2021 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 129
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.32-44
  • Keywords: Gilbert Durand, The Anthropological Structures of the Imaginary, Paul Sebillot, folklore, imaginary, theriomorphic symbols
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Classification of the images / symbols / archetypes proposed by Gilbert Durand's The Anthropological Structures of the Imaginary, that is, the model for analyzing the imaginary provides a basic conceptual space and model in understanding the ways of thinking, believing, and living of an individual (an author or artist) or society as well as the human mind. Throuht these, Gilbert Durand identifies and classifies different images, symbols and archetypes, the ways of society's beliefs, representations, folklore, etc., by using the data of anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis and psychology, history of religions, mythology, folklore, etc. To do so, he aims to reveal the similarities and distinctions between different cultures, societies, and the forms of imagination created by different cultures, societies, and individuals from a comparative and structural perspective, without focusing on a particular social group, but including new forms of culture and thinking, civilizations. Accordingly, in the proposed classification model he tries to grasp the way its functioning and its functions by classifying images / symbols under the heading "Diurnal Order and Nocturnal Order of the Image". The image and symbol referring to how a particular society understands, presents and represents the world allows us to grasp the functioning of human thought in general, in addition to those who represent the society in particular, through all kinds artistic, fictional and textual folk products of the company in question. With the feature of meaning to one particular thing, the image can acquire universal value by adding cultural determinations alongside its individual determinations. Since an image has a symbolic value, the meaning of each image is updated with contextual uses rather than loading it with random meanings; by this way, it is possible to preserve its original meaning at different periods. In order to grasp the formal and semantic values of images and symbols created by this or that culture and society, it is necessary to know the basic paths and methods that guide classification. In other words, it is essential to use the data of a particular method which makes it possible to determine scientifically and objectively the way of thinking of this society and its perception of reality. It is known that mythology, ancient or new cultures from different countries and folklore data are frequently used in the analysis of the imaginary. Gilbert Durand classifies the images, symbols and archetypes by using folk content both in the analysis of myths and imaginary. Since it is not possible, within the framework of this article, to make a list of all the proposed classifications and to explain their semantic values, we will content ourselves with briefly emphasizing the animal symbolism which has imposed itself within structures of the imagination in the order of the diurnal regime of the image. Our objective is to give some clues on how to classify the images and symbols compiled from mythology, cultural history, folklore, making some determinations concerning the functioning of the adopted method and the manner of treating the folk, cultural or mythological content. Such a study aims, although limited, to show Gilbert Durad's interest to folklore and to provide methodological data for the analysis of the imagination of folk content.