Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Myth originally implied 'fabulous narration' and is widely used in that sense.

explanatory context

Myth is thus linked with the idea of a fable. Myth is also often used in the sense of a legend with some basis in history but which has at root a 'distorted' thesis about the origins of humanity, etc. Myth as legend became expanded, especially in anthropology, to provide clues about social constructs, etc., in what was seen as the development of human culture through animistic stages.

At one extreme, myth has been held to be a truer (deeper) version of reality than (secular) history or realistic description or scientific explanation. Recent developments have taken on elements of this position to argue that social structures are imbued with myth(s) that are linked to ideology (in some way). I.e. myth is not simply a deliberately false account or belief.


See also Structuralism: anthropological structuralism

analytical review

associated issues


related areas

See also:





copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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