I am a PhD student in anthropology under the direction of Prof. Michael Houseman at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, France. My dissertation is entitled The collective construction of self-experience at Burning Man festival and "transformational festivals".
My fieldwork examines 'transformational festivals' located primarily in the U.S and Europe, including the well-known Burning Man festival. My ethnographic study raises the question of the collective construction of a self-transformation experience. I am focusing on the study of different types of rituals such as traditional and New Age and their link to specific economic organizational systems.
During the past decade, I have examined a variety of issues through my work in the social sciences. My psychology thesis, The Call of the Marionette, considered the marionette as a magical strategy to convince humanity of its power to deny human finitude, using animism as a lens to reveal the magic existence of inanimate objects, the disquieting strangeness of their freedom, and the public fascination and cathartic experience with their performance.
Another psychology thesis, Cooking: an Endless Experience, examined the practice of cooking workshops within the framework of psychotherapy in a health-care facility, seeking to relate the originality of dissociations/associations of psychotic individuals and the relationship of their existence to time.
A thesis in philosophy-psychoanalysis, Towards the Sublime: Profane Constructions and Sacred Dissolution, used a Kantian definition of the sublime to analyze two apparently disparate fields – the permanence of statues on the one hand and the ephemerality of the Burning Man festival on the other hand – thus bringing together the encounter of the possible and impossible in the face of death.
Finally, in an anthropology thesis, The Encounter of Burning Man, I discussed the festival components and conceptualized ‘the transformational movement’, research that I am developing further in my dissertation in a comparative study of selected festivals.