What Is Folklore? This Is the question posed In the Initial chapter of the book The Study of American Folklore by Jan Harold Broadband. There are many ways to define exactly what Folklore is, but it can be described as unrecorded traditions of people; the content and the manner of communication. Analyzing records and traditions allow anthropologists a glimpse into the common elite to the human mind separate from all of the formal records of a people. This area of study wasn’t legitimate or organized until the late nineteenth century.

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Some of the founders and early leaders f American Folklore study were John Llama, Louise Pound, Cecil J. Sharp and others. These anthropologists helped the study of American Folklore grow to become a popular part of the current academic scene. The word “Folklore” has also undergone some serious scrutiny among scholars. The word “Folk” Is apparently a misleading and ambiguous term In an academic context so folklorists have tried to find different words to describe it. They have used words like “homology’ and “lore” as substitutes. Folk culture” and “verbal arts” have also been proposed as better names. Folklore encompasses all knowledge. Understandings, values, attitudes, assumptions, feelings, and beliefs transmitted by word of mouth or by customary examples. These things are common to all humans because we all interact and are Influenced by the cultures and the world around us. Folklore manifests Itself In many oral and verbal forms called mendicants, genealogical forms known as sociopath, and in material forms called artifacts.

Anthropologists have separated these generalizations into levels that are organized into levels of culture. It includes Elite, Normative, and Folk. Elite Includes progressive, highly educated people. Normative Is the popular group and includes most mainstream, middle class people. Folk contains all people who are conservative and traditional. A reason why folklore is such an interesting area of study is because people are fascinating creatures. It questions the how and the why folklore develops and attempts to unravel the answers by diddling Into the cultures of people.

To do this, folklorists must take a deep look into the art,

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music and tradition. Linguist Allen Walker Read described the process of studying folklore “The folklorist can take unpromising, trivial details, organize them into an orderly body to material, and from them derive significant findings in the interpretation of human life”. When collecting folklore, anthropologists will use tape or video recorders to collect the exact words of informants. They are well versed on how to conduct interviews to achieve the most natural response.

Besides using verbatim texts, folklorists will record data about the informants and get background Information about their families and communities. Photographs and videos are used to capture gestures and facial expressions which is a very significant part of the process. Questionnaires have also been used extensively and allow researchers to cover a wider area. These materials are arranged by genre within a published collection. When classifying folklore, It depends greatly on the Interest and needs of researchers.

Due to the fact that most folklore study is conducted by folklorists and students most of the archived research is found on campuses throughout the united States. Analyzing folklore is a seemingly complex area. The most common technique tofu several different methods to analyzing folklore. The literary or esthetics approach analyzes influence of folklore on literature. Hemispheric approach looks more toward American history, while the anthropological approach examines the roles of folklore in culture to determine meaning and function.

The psychological approach interprets folklore based upon the human mind. Ideological approach looks into the symbolic influence on folklore (Marxist, capitalist, Christian). The focus on specific creators of traditions involves identifying individuals. They are placed into folk groups. The six major kinds of American folk groups are occupational groups, age groups, family groups, gender-differentiated groups, regional groups, and ethnic groups.

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