The Big Bad Wolf: The Formation of a Stereotype

Jürgens, Uta Maria and Hackett, Paul M ORCID: 0000-0002-9365-8084 (2017) The Big Bad Wolf: The Formation of a Stereotype. Ecopsychology, 9 (1). pp. 33-43. doi:10.1089/eco.2016.0037

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In our essay, we explore this image of a stereotypical Big Bad Wolf, and we explain how many of the themes, which keep resurfacing in debates about wolves in present-day culture, can be thought of as being associated with this stereotype. In order to investigate these possible associations, we consider human perceptions of wolf behavior and evaluate how these may correspond to attributes associated with immorality or wickedness especially as such human characteristics are expressed in the Jungian shadow archetype of evil. We further explore how the stereotype of the Big Bad Wolf may be created through the unconscious merger of actual wolf behavior with notions associated with evil in human beings. We first delineate the agenda of this essay and then provide a short overview of research on human-wolf relations in Central Europe. We then review aspects of wolf biology that may be particularly salient and potentially problematic to a peaceful coexistence between wolves and humans. Finally, we identify correspondences between those aspects of wolf behavior and the human understanding of what constitutes an evil act and how this correspondence may reinforce the concept of the Big Bad Wolf.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: Final publication is available as an open access document from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers
Uncontrolled Keywords: Stereotypes
Related URLs:
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
SWORD Depositor: Pubrouter
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 14:10
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:04

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