An Introduction to Mimetic Theory

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WATCH ALSO: GIRARD ON THE ORIGIN OF RELIGION (CLICK HERE)

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KLIK HIER VOOR VERTALING VAN FAQs OVER MT

I compiled the following documentary film on the origin of cultures, in three parts, introducing some major topics of mimetic theory and René Girard’s thinking. Transcription of the videos (in English & Dutch) is available below, beneath PART III.

PART I of the film explores the fundamental role of mimesis (imitation) in human development on several levels (biological, psychological, sociological, cultural). René Girard’s originality lies in his  introduction of a connection between this old philosophical concept and human desire. He speaks of a certain mimetic desire and ascribes to it a vital role in our social interaction. It explains our often competitive and envious tendencies. More specifically, Girard considers mimetic desire as the source for a type of conflict that is foundational to the way human culture originates and develops. In his view the primal cultural institutions are religious. Following a sociologist like Émile Durkheim, Girard first considers religion as a means to organize our social fabric, and to manage violence within communities.

The more specific question the first part of this documentary tries to answer is the following: where do sacrifices, as rituals belonging to the first signs of human culture, originally come from? How can they be explained? Click to watch:

PART II starts off with a summary and then further insists on the fundamental role of the so-called scapegoat mechanism in the origin of religious and cultural phenomena.

PART III explores the world of mythology and human storytelling in the light of Girard’s theory on certain types of culture founding conflicts and scapegoat mechanisms. Girard comes to surprising conclusions regarding storytelling in Judeo-Christian Scripture. 

CLICK HERE FOR FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION (PDF)

KLIK HIER VOOR EEN VERTALING (PDF)

KLIK HIER VOOR EEN OVERZICHT (PDF)

CURSUSMATERIAAL AFGELEID VAN VROUWEN, JEZUS EN ROCK-‘N-ROLL

COURSE MATERIAL BASED ON VROUWEN, JEZUS EN ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

 

14 comments

  1. Bruce MacKay · March 12, 2011

    Hi Eric

    Great video information introducing Girard. I would like to correspond with you about some of this if you are amenable.

    Like

  2. stef de wolf · March 12, 2011

    zeer leerrijk en leuk om weten:) op aanraden van onze leerkracht mevrouw eeckhout

    Like

    • erik buys · March 12, 2011

      Ja, die ken ik:) – en ze weet ook dat de filmpjes niet zomaar uit de lucht komen vallen. Leuk dat je er iets aan hebt!

      Like

  3. RJ · March 12, 2011

    Thank you for this wonderful documentary!

    Must be, for now, the only one out there summarizing Girard’s thinking with examples nicely placed.

    Like

  4. Gabor Lisztes · March 12, 2011

    Dear Eric, I have prepared a HUNGARIAN subtitle (subtitled version) for the first film, I wanted to make it public but Facebook said I am violating copyrights, please let me know what to do with subtitle to let Hungarians watch the film… Subtitle file is in .srt format
    Honestly: Gabor Lisztes, Budapest

    Like

    • erik buys · March 12, 2011

      Dear Gabor,

      I don’t really know how to help you. I started this blog because I couldn’t upload the films properly on YouTube, because of the music I used. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but I made a transcription in English. Maybe that could help people already? I’m sorry I can’t really help you out.

      Thanks for your time and effort!

      Erik

      Like

    • Matthias Sterckx · March 12, 2011

      Good evening,

      I’m a former student of Mr. Buys, and I volunteered to add Dutch subtitles to these videos. I have the original video files on my pc, so if you could send me your .srt files, I could add those to the video as well as I used them to create the Dutch subtitles. I know it’s a bit late, but if you’re still interested, I bet I can get Mr. Buys to add a Hungarian version to this blog.

      Thanks in advance,
      Matthias Sterckx

      Like

      • erik buys · March 12, 2011

        Thanks already Matthias for your wonderful work!

        Like

      • Gabor Lisztes · March 12, 2011

        Dear Matthias, thanks, I think that would be useful, please send me your e-mail address to attach .srt files.
        Gabor Lisztes (Hungary)
        gaborlisztes@gmail.com

        Like

      • erik buys · March 12, 2011

        Gabor,

        This is the work Matthias has done, providing the Hungarian subtitles for the first part of on the origin of cultures.

        Thank you very much, Matthias!

        Like

  5. Jonathan · March 12, 2011

    Hi Eric, thanks for this. Great material. It looks like you’re Dutch as well?:-)

    Like

    • erik buys · March 12, 2011

      Well Jonathan, you’re welcome:). I’m Belgian, from Flanders.

      Hoe heb je het werk van Girard leren kennen? Wist je dat er een Nederlandse Girard Studiekring is?

      Like

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