PhD in Political Science, achieved in Dec. 2010 with honours, University of Eastern Paris (Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée) - Supervisor: Ms Chantal Delsol, philosopher
«L'IMPOSSIBLE RETOUR, Analyse du fantasme de retour à la nature et mise en lumière des structures archaïques de l'imaginaire contemporain (Europe occidentale)»
"BACK TO THE TREES!" : THE IMPOSSIBLE RETURN TO NATURE. What fantasy tells us about archaic structures of imagination (Western Europe)
Abstract: In the West, the fantasy of returning to nature understood as a return to an original matrix, has mainly taken the form of a search for a lost paradise or a return to a golden age.
The first part aims at illustrating the persistence of this fantasy with the examination of some of its expressions. These expressions are presented along two major lines: the relationship to radical otherness with the figures of the savage and the barbaric since ancient times, up to the first Christopher Columbus’ journey in Chapter 1, and the quest for a better world with the Christian millenniums in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 is devoted to the evocation of this prehistoric fantasy, and in particular, the consequences of the Neolithic divide.
The second part focuses on the identity of the fantasy of returning to nature and its function in the collective imagination. In the West, this fantasy has given birth to the search for an earthly paradise, as the synthesis of three fundamental fantasies: eternal youth, easy life, and perfection. This aspect of the fantasy is discussed in Chapter 5. The question of the existence of a primary imagination is also discussed, as well as the issues raised by the development of a general theory of imagination, in Chapters 4 and 6.
The third part seeks to uncover the origin of this fantasy: namely, its genealogy over time. Human beings have reached a level of security from which no other animal seems to benefit. Homo sapiens owe their origin and evolution to their ability to protect themselves from the arbitrariness of the wilderness. The freedom human beings have gained through evolution goes along with their irreversible expulsion from nature and could be the source of the fantasy of returning to nature. Chapter 7 deals specifically with the call for an elsewhere, Chapter 8 is focused on the notions of transformation and mastery of the world, and Chapter 9 on the question of freedom.
(Grant awarded by the French government for a 3 year PhD scholarship)
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