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Baština
2018, iss. 44, pp. 13-24
article language: Serbian
document type: Original Scientific Paper
published on: 02/08/2018
doi: 10.5937/bastina1844013A
Creative Commons License 4.0
Theoretical and methodological postulates of imagology and its transformation
Institute for Serbian Culture, Leposavić

e-mail: jaca.a@eunet.rs

Project

Material and spiritual culture of Kosovo and Metohija (MESTD - 178028)

Abstract

With its attention focused on studying the image of one nation in the literature of another and the perception of foreign countries in literature, imagology has prefered the research of reception to (as is characteristic of traditional comparative studies) the research of influence, and it has sown a seed of doubt concerning national philologies. Although its origins are located in the third decade of the previous century and tied to Jean-Marie Carré, imagology as a discipline underwent an important transformation in the 1950s, owing to Marius-François Guyard and Daniel-Henri Pageaux in France, and once again in the 1960s, through the Aachen imagological school with Hugo Dyserinck at its forefront. In continual response to the objections put in front of the early imagologists by René Wellek, the Aachen imagologists gradually deepened their theoretical-methodological presuppositions and dedicated a great amount of attention to the clarification of their methodology, their objectives and theoretical starting points. What the appearance of a positivistic threat in the thirties had can be understood from a contemporary perspective as the beginning of cultural contextualisation of literature, characteristic of theoretical reflections that mark the second half of the 20th century. Despite the fact that its research area has been broadened significantly, even today, imagology holds a marginal status in literary sciences, although it rests upon postulates that place it close to a number of the 20th century literary theories, primarily to postcolonial studies, but also culturology and New Historicism: the shift from an essentialist to a constructivist understanding of identity, from literature's mimetic to its representative function, from understanding literature as an autonomous area of human endeavour to the realization that it is only one of its cultural phenomena. We called attention to imagology's transformation from its beginnings up to this day, and reflected on the reasons behind its marginal status, especially in comparison to postcolonial studies. The fact that imagology has never established an equality sign between an aesthetic cliché and an ideological stereotype was given a prominent role in judging the importance of that scientific discipline.

Keywords

imagology; stereotypes; heteroimages; 'Aachen school'; representation; postcolonialism

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