Immaginario o immaginari? Europa e America a confronto. Due casi: il ritorno dell'eroe e la figura del Supereroe = Imagination or imaginations? Europe and America in comparison. Two cases: the return of the hero and the Superhero figure


Over the recent years, the exploration of the notion of 'social imagination' has been carried out by searching for the essence, for that archetypal collective deposits that are positioned along a line that goes from Jung to Bachelard to Durand. As a result, research has usually relied on the idea of a universal "imagination", which derives from disciplines such as – among others – psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience. And yet, due to the development of these studies, scholars have discussed the sociologists' task, questioning whether they have to search for the essential core of the symbolic system or to identify the particular historical and cultural meaning that this absolute system takes on from time to time. This paper intends to inspect the appropriateness of talking about the study of the "imaginations" rather than that of the "imagination". At first, we illustrate the causes of the historical-geographical differentiation of imaginaries. Then, we enquire into the role of the ideological structure and of the social, spatial, religious and economic contexts as preconditions for the construction of different and therefore specific archetypes. The investigation is performed by considering the American imagination system in contrast to the Catholic-European one. In particular, two main factors are taken into account: the re-functionalisation of Lotman's archetypal structure, i.e., the relationship between the space of consciousness and the outer space, which is expressed in the myth of the hero's return home; and the re-functionalisation of the archetype of the hero in the conception of the American superhero

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n17p157

Keywords: Imagination; archetype; superhero; puritanism; narrative

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