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Big DreamsThe Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion$
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Kelly Bulkeley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199351534

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199351534.001.0001

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(p.56) 4 Culture
Big Dreams

Kelly Bulkeley

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the question of whether sleep is a purely individual experience. Research is presented showing that dreaming is a socially influenced behavior at many different levels. The chapter describes how many cultural traditions have their own distinctive practices revolving around sleep and its role in the ongoing life of the community. These practices involve when people sleep, where, on what, with whom, and for how long. Drawing on information from anthropology, history, and sociology, the chapter explains how human sleep has evolved within a social context and has contributed to the development of intimate and trusting relationships with others.

Keywords:   sleep, culture, society, sleep rituals, anthropology of sleep, history of sleep, sociology of sleep

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