Theatres of Human Sacrifice

From Ancient Ritual to Screen Violence

Mark Pizzato
eISBN-13: 9780791484234

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Contemporary debates about mass media violence tend to ignore the long history of staged violence in the theatres and rituals of many cultures. In Theatres of Human Sacrifice, Mark Pizzato relates the appeal and possible effects of screen violence todayin sports, movies, and television newsto specific sacrificial rites and performance conventions in ancient Greek, Aztec, and Roman culture. Using the psychoanalytic theories of Lacan, Kristeva, and Zðizûek, as well as the theatrical theories of Artaud and Brecht, the book offers insights into the ritual lures and effects of current mass media spectatorship, especially regarding the pleasures, purposes, and risks of violent display. Updating Aristotle's notion of catharsis, Pizzato identifies a sacrificial imperative within the human mind, structured by various patriarchal cultures and manifested in distinctive rites and dramas, with both positive and negative potential effects on their audiences.

ISBNs 9780791462591, 0791484238, 9780791484234
Language English