The Odyssey Experience: Physical, Social, Psychological, and Spiritual Journeys

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University of California Press, Mar 5, 2009 - Social Science - 272 pages
The Odyssey Experience puts forward the view that a journey, as encapsulated by the journey of Odysseus, provides a fundamental and archetypal human experience and develops a theory of this experience through personal experiences and a wide range of salient phenomena. There is a vast literature inspired by The Odyssey, but the way that Smelser approaches the subject is entirely unique.”—Yiannis Gabriel, University of London

“Smelser draws together studies of an astonishing range of diverse topics and subsumes them under a single coherent, powerful, overarching concept—the odyssey experience. I believe his book will lead to the establishment of an entirely new field of study in the social and behavioral sciences, that will open up new and promising lines of theory and research that until now have not been possible.”—Robert Scott, Associate Director (emeritus), Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
 

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Contents

The Essentials of the Experience
1
Some Personal Odysseys
28
Religious Foundations and Their Derivatives
57
Secularized and Commercialized Odysseys
97
Some Miscellaneous More or Less
155
Some Coercive Odyssey Experiences
180
Additional Theoretical Reflections
206
References
221
Index
249
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About the author (2009)

Neil J. Smelser is University Professor of Sociology Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of numerous books, including The Social Edges of Psychoanalysis, Problematics of Sociology, and Social Paralysis and Social Change, all from UC Press.

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