"Insects" in oral literature and traditions

E. Motte-Florac, J. M.C. Thomas

M. Dunham (editor/translator)

Editions Peters



Les insectes dans la tradition orale


Omnipresent in nature, insects and assimilated animals play a considerable part in the life of mankind. The links forged between these two partners over millions of years have been rendered through a multitude of sayings, techniques, cultural attitudes, social behavior, political acts, ritual practices, religious conduct.
Based on original research, undertaken following profoundly different reasoning and methodologies, the authors propose a trip through time (from the first hominids to the contemporary world) and through space (in world wide traditional societies as well as in the western world) to discover human behavior when confronted with "insects". They show us how, between curiosity and disgust, terror and fascination, man experiences "insects" in daily life, how he uses them, protects himself against them or destroys them, as well as how he speaks of them, names them, describes them, represents them and uses them as the medium upon which is founded his symbolic imagination.
Beyond a simple presentation of exotic conceptions and behavior, this volume offers new perspectives on numerous concrete problems, contemporary and world wide, concerning environmental management, lasting development, intellectual ownership and even the evaluation of knowledge and the scientific paradigms which determine the concept of "reality".