This article attempts to fundamentally reorient research on "folklore and the media." After reviewing a number of ways this topic has been addressed, this article reconceptualizes what has been framed as the relationship between folklore and the media through notions of traditionalization and mediatization. Doing so suggests how folkloristics and media studies have moved in parallel ways in questioning com-monsense definitions of core disciplinary concepts and in examining how folkloric and mediatized subjects and objects are produced. Two examples scrutinize these processes from opposite directions: A reexamination of the Kinder-und Hausmärchen analyzes the Brothers Grimm's methods not in terms of their ability to mirror features of oral narratives but as creating authoritative practices for mediatizing tradition. The second examines how public health officials, medical researchers, epidemiologists, journalists, and laypersons collaborated in producing the "swine flu pandemic" narrative in just twenty-four hours in 2009. While the Grimms made traditionalization and mediatization seem to go together hand-in-glove, the H1N1 virus was mediatized as new, even as the narrative was traditionalized. The conclusion points to the productivity of rejecting reified notions of folklore and "the media" in favor of examining particular ways that traditionalization and mediatization intersect, both as analytic tools and as real-world processes.


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pp. 81-117
Launched on MUSE
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