This book presents new directions in contemporary anthropological dream research, surveying recent theorizations of dreaming that are developing both in and outside of anthropology. It incorporates new findings in neuroscience and philosophy of mind while demonstrating that dreams emerge from and comment on sociohistorical and cultural contexts.

The chapters are written by prominent anthropologists working at the intersection of culture and consciousness who conduct ethnographic research in a variety of settings around the world, and reflect how dreaming is investigated by a range of informants in ever more diverse sites. As well as theorizing the dream in light of current anthropological and psychological research, the volume accounts for local dream theories and how they are situated within distinct cultural ontologies. It considers dreams as a resource for investigating and understanding cultural change;  dreaming as a mode of thinking through, contesting, altering, consolidating, or escaping from identity; and the nature of dream mentation.

In proposing new theoretical approaches to dreaming, the editors situate the topic within the recent call for an "anthropology of the night" and illustrate how dreams offer insight into current debates within anthropology’s mainstream. This up-to-date book defines a twenty-first century approach to culture and the dream that will be relevant to scholars from anthropology as well as other disciplines such as religious studies, the neurosciences, and psychology.

part II|84 pages

New theoretical approaches to dreaming

chapter 3|19 pages

Metaphors we dream by

On the nature of dream cognition

chapter 4|21 pages

Identity and memory in Germany

The defensive role of dreams

chapter 5|21 pages

Dreaming bloody murder

Women’s dreams of mortal threat, true-crime culture, and metonyms of gendered vulnerability

part III|99 pages

Dream cultures

chapter 7|21 pages

Out-of-body on the happy hunting road

Dialogues between dreaming and culture in Papua New Guinea

chapter 8|25 pages

Taking dreams seriously

An ontological–phenomenological approach to Tzotzil Maya dream culture

chapter 9|21 pages

Godly dreams

Muslim encounters with the Divine

chapter 10|22 pages

Life is but a dream

Culture and science in the study of Tibetan dream yoga and lucid dreaming