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Encyclopedia > Mytheme

In the study of mythology, a mytheme is an irreducible nugget of myth, an unchanging element, similar to a cultural meme, one that is always found shared with other, related mythemes and reassembled in various ways—"bundled" was Claude Lévi-Strauss's image— or linked in more complicated relationships, like a molecule in a compound. For example, the myths of Adonis and Osiris share several elements, leading some scholars to conclude that they share a source. // For the Derek Sherinian album, see Mythology (Derek Sherinian album). ... It has been suggested that Memetic engineering be merged into this article or section. ... Claude Lévi-Strauss Claude Lévi-Strauss (IPA pronunciation ); born November 28, 1908) is a Jewish-French anthropologist who developed structuralism as a method of understanding human society and culture. ... A 19th-century reproduction of a Greek bronze of Adonis found at Pompeii. ... For other uses, see Osiris (disambiguation). ...


The cataloguer of folk tales Vladimir Propp considered that the unit of analysis was the individual tale: the unitary mytheme by contrast is the equivalent in myth of the phonemes, morphemes and sememes into which structural linguistics divides language: the smallest possible units of meaning within a language system. Folklore is the ethnographic concept of the tales, legends, or superstitions current among a particular ethnic population, a part of the oral history of a particular culture. ... Vladimir Yakovlevich Propp (St Petersburg, April 29, 1895 – Leningrad August 22, 1970) was a Russian structuralist scholar who analysed the basic plot components of Russian folk tales to identify their simplest irreducible narrative elements. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... A Sememe is a proposed unit of transmitted or intended meaning; it is atomic or indivisible. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language. ...


In the 1950s Claude Lévi-Strauss first adapted this technique of language analysis to analytic myth criticism. In his work on the myth systems of primitive tribes, working from the analogy of language structure, he adopted the term mythème, with the assertion that the system of meaning within mythic utterances parallels closely that of a language system [1]. This idea is somewhat disputed by Roman Jakobson, who takes the mytheme to be a concept or phoneme which is without significance in itself but whose significance might be shown by sociological analysis. Claude Lévi-Strauss Claude Lévi-Strauss (IPA pronunciation ); born November 28, 1908) is a Jewish-French anthropologist who developed structuralism as a method of understanding human society and culture. ... Roman Osipovich Jakobson (October 11, 1896 - July 18, 1982) was a Russian thinker who became one of the most influential linguists of the 20th century by pioneering the development of structural analysis of language, poetry, and art. ... A concept is an abstract idea or a mental symbol, typically associated with a corresponding representation in language or symbology, that denotes all of the objects in a given category or class of entities, interactions, phenomena, or relationships between them. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Sociological inquiry. ...


Lev Manovich also uses the terms seme and mytheme in his book, The Language of New Media to describe aspects of culture that computer images enter into dialog with. Lev Manovich is Professor of Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego, USA where he teaches new media art and theory. ...


Reference

  • Claude Lévi-Strauss, 1955. "The Structural study of myth" in Journal of American Folklore, 68 pp 428-444

External link

  • [http://www.mythocrator.wordpress.com Project of the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology facilitated by Ampat V. Varghese and Dr. A.V. Koshy 2007

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Mytheme - No Subject (307 words)
mytheme grounds his structuralist approach to myth criticism, his structural analysis of myths.
This idea is somewhat disputed by Roman Jakobson, who takes the mytheme to be a concept or phoneme which is without significance in itself but whose significance might be shown by sociological analysis.
It's useful because once the mythemes are identified, they can be aligned with other mythemes in particular kinds of arrangements (to other mythemes in time [diachronic] or to other mythemes in the same myth [synchronic], and so on).
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