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Broken Order: Shapeshifting as Social Metaphor in Early Medieval England and Ireland
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Shapeshifting narratives appear in cultures all over the world, throughout human history. At each point, these narratives give expression to culturally contingent anxieties and preoccupations. This study examines shapeshifting narratives in early medieval England and Ireland in order to uncover what preoccupations informed the meaning of 'shapeshifting', and also what social functions these shapeshifting narratives could serve. It begins with a lexical analysis of the verbs and nouns most associated with shapeshifting narratives; then, it examines shapeshifting narratives on the one hand, and comparisons between humans and animals on the other; finally, the study turns to the sociocultural role of shapeshifting narratives. It demonstrates that, although shapeshifting manifests differently in English and Irish contexts, the importance of performance, in particular the proper performance of in-group behaviour, is a consistent theme between them. Often, shapeshifting narratives visually confirm or demonstrate changes that have already taken place. Although the transformation of a human into something else would appear to break the natural order, such a wondrous disruption ultimately reveals divine power, and reinforces the divine order.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of History, Stockholm University , 2019.
Keywords [en]
Anglo-Saxon England, Early Christian Ireland, Shapeshifting, Historical Anthropology, Early Medieval European History
National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-162270ISBN: 978-91-7797-482-6 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-483-3 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-162270DiVA, id: diva2:1264919
Public defence
2019-01-18, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-12-19 Created: 2018-11-21 Last updated: 2018-12-18Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2020-01-18 09:00
Available from 2020-01-18 09:00

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf