The Anthropology of Horror: Theoretical Challenges and Epistemological Potential


  • Marko Pišev Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia


  From a disciplinary angle, horror could be viewed as a more imaginative, illegitimate brother of anthropology, or rather, its more poetic, kindred soul. Much like horror, the anthropological way of thinking is preoccupied by matters of the alien, the otherworldly, the hidden and the marginal. The two angles of viewing people and their world intersect in a number of common issues, starting with questions of the body and embodiment, through the relationship between an individual and the community and the community toward otherness, to the basic questions of people's spiritual and posthumous lives. Yet, horror as a specific artistic genre has not been researched enough within an anthropological framework, perhaps because it offers artistic and not strictly scientific answers to questions posed by anthropology.

In this thematic issue of Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology, for the first time in Serbian anthropology an opportunity arose to publish a collection of scientific texts about the horror genre in one place. Authors who generously submitted their papers for this thematic issue have shown that horror stories can be interpreted in a number of ways which demand a degree of interdisciplinarity, but without ever leaving the familiar framework of the anthropological focus. However, the analysis of horror stories is not common within our discipline. Why is this?

The most conspicuous explanation for the systematic neglect of horror in anthropological research would be that there are huge gaps between the discourses of horror and anthropology, and that the biggest of those can be found in the context of their disparate treatment of otherness....


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How to Cite

Pišev, Marko. 2016. “The Anthropology of Horror: Theoretical Challenges and Epistemological Potential”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 11 (2):320-25.

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