Dreams pp 249-264 | Cite as

The New Anthropology of Dreaming

  • Barbara Tedlock


In recent years dream researchers have become sensitive to the differences between dream accounts and dreams. While dreams are private mental acts, which have never been recorded during their actual occurrence, dream accounts are public social performances taking place after the experience of dreaming. When dreamers decide, for whatever reason, to share a dream experience, they choose an appropriate time and place, a specific audience and social context, a modality (visual or auditory), and a discourse or performance form. While some clinicians and experiential dream workers operate with the fiction that when they hear or produce a sufficiently dramatic dream report they can recover the dream itself, as if entering into a “real dream life” (Mahrer 1989: 44–46), cultural anthropologists have turned their attention to the study of dream sharing as a communicative event (B. Tedlock 1987a).


Social Drama Current Anthropology Dream Report Dream Experience Dream Life 
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© Kelly Bulkeley 2001

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  • Barbara Tedlock

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