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Folk Groups And Folklore Genres

An Introduction

edited by Elliott Oring

Publication Year: 1986

Oring's introductory folklore text consists of a series of essays by leading scholars that give the student a solid sense of major folklore topics and interpretive techniques. Since 1986, when it was first published, this book has met the need for good instructional material at a time of tremendous growth in folklore programs and introductory courses in colleges and universities around the world.

Published by: Utah State University Press

Table of Contents

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xiv

The past thirty years have witnessed a tremendous growth in the number of folklore programs and courses to be found in North American universities. There are sixteen degree-granting programs (several offering the Ph.D); another eighty institutions offer minors or concentrations in folklore, and over five hundred colleges .,..

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Chapter 1. On the Concepts of Folklore

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pp. 1-22

Although the word "folklore" is regularly employed in our everyday speech, its precise definition presents a problem. The term is clearly a compound made up of "folk," implying some group of people, who have something called "lore." In his prefatory essay to The Study of Folklore, the eminent folklorist Alan Dundes ...

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Chapter 2. Ethnic Groups and Ethnic Folklore

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pp. 23-44

Ethnicity seems an omnipresent force in contemporary American society. When people are hungry, a host of restaurants offer "ethnic cuisines" which compete for their attention and capital. They read in the newspapers of numerous ethnic events, festivals, and other entertainments which vie for their attendance during ...

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Chapter 3. Religious Folklore

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pp. 45-70

Religious folklore is folklore that has to do with religion. This definition is direct and simple, but raises several difficult questions. For instance, what distinguishes religious folklore from institutionalized religious practice and belief? What types of behaviors make up this kind of folk tradition? ...

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Chapter 4. Occupational Folklore

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pp. 71-90

The study of the lore and skills of work has paralleled changes in the ways in which Americans have historically adapted themselves to their environment. The occupational experiences of cowboys, miners, and lumberjacks generated work songs, jargon, and new skills which were collected by folklorists as examples of ...

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Chapter 5. Children's Folklore

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pp. 91-120

Although each of us has a unique constellation of folk group affiliations and identities within those groups, the one thing we all share is that we were children once. This fact makes the study of children's folklore so attractive and, at the same time, so difficult. The white, male folklorist recognizes that he will never ...

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Chapter 6. Folk Narratives

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pp. 121-146

"Narrative" is another word for story. Narrating is a method by which an experience is transformed into a verbal account. Experience is recapitulated by matching a verbal sequence of statements to some sequence of events which is purported to have occurred. For example: ...

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Chapter 7. Ballads and Folksongs

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pp. 147-174

A folksong begins its life like any other song: as a musical and poetic expression of some person's feelings or ideas. A song becomes a folksong when it begins to be passed along and rephrased or used by others for whom it also functions as a way of articulating shared attitudes or feelings. Because the song's ability ..

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Chapter 8. Riddles and Proverbs

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pp. 175-198

Readers of J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Hobbit may recall Bilbo Baggins's dangerous encounter with Gollum in a dark and damp underground cavern where the latter lives. The hobbit, Bilbo, and his companions, the wizard Gandalf and a troop of dwarves, on their way to capture a treasure guarded by a dragon, ...

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Chapter 9. Folk Objects

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pp. 199-224

In Utah, two-story houses display their symmetrical faces of stone against a mountainous backdrop. In Indiana, woodcarvers show chains and caged balls amazingly made out of one piece of wood with the aid of only a pocketknife. In Pennsylvania, New Year's Day is greeted with the making of sauerkraut and pork. ...

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Chapter 10. Documenting Folklore

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pp. 225-254

Not long ago I attended an informal dinner party with a number of faculty members and spouses. Midway through dinner the associate dean of my college said, "Bert, tell us some folklore." I replied that I would rather experience folklore than tell it. He looked at me blankly for a moment and then turned his attention to ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780874213249
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874211283

Publication Year: 1986