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Myth and Modernity

Myth and Modernity

Karl Acham, Graz (Austria)

The lecture will take into consideration the complementary relation between modernity and myth. Myths are taken to be those narratives which are related to the creation of the world, the evolution of peoples and communities, and the emergence of those customs, rites and institutions which are to secure their maintenance. Whether fictitious or real - they are functioning as definitions of the situation of our contemporary life conditions.

The lecture will be based on three aspects of mythical thinking: positive and negative national myths as weil as a particular mythization of morally supported historical facts in contrast to 'merely' scientific knowledge. In this connection it will be referred to events of the 14'", the 17'" and the 20'" century – including World War ll as well as the 1999 war at the Balkans –, and some of theire ideological interpretations.

The assumption prevails that it is essential to know about the genesis of myths in order to prevent the taking over of their impact.