Folklore Dissertations and Theses

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    Narrative Portraits of Asylums: The Contested Authorship of Mental Illness and Psychiatric Healthcare in Contemporary Legend
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2019-07) Ahari, Shannon K. Tanhayi; Goldstein, Diane
    Contemporary legends portraying brutal medical treatments, inhumane living conditions, abusive caretakers, and dangerous patients surround numerous derelict psychiatric institutions. These narratives illuminate, reinforce, and sometimes challenge mainstream conceptions of mental illness and mental health care, thus providing insight into the role of narrative in the construction, maintenance, and negotiation of stigmas and stereotypes. My dissertation examines contemporary legends—narratives set in the world as we know it that chronicle plausible, yet improbable events—presently circulating about abandoned psychiatric hospitals that have closed as the result of deinstitutionalization, a movement which saw the gradual transition away from long-term institutional health care for the mentally ill to short-term outpatient care. From January 2014 to November 2017, I conducted more than thirty interviews with individuals who have knowledge of asylum legend traditions; engaged in participant-observation on numerous supernatural-themed events that market and employ contemporary legends at six different abandoned asylums in the United Kingdom and United States; consulted media reports, hospital records, and oral histories from the former staff and patients of those same six institutions; and collected an abundant corpus of legend texts from university archives, websites, blogs, forums, social media sites, and published collections of ghostlore about abandoned hospitals. Drawing from this ethnographic and archival research, I argue that asylum legends provide a medium for publics to collectively engage in a dynamic process of (re)living asylums in order to discursively negotiate what mental illness is, how mental illness is caused, and how it should be treated. Further, by analyzing the contestation and reconstruction of asylum history through contemporary legend, I advance an understanding of how individuals and communities cope with the challenges of mental illness and the uncertain future of mental health care.
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    Drums, Raps, and Song-Games: An Ethnography of Music and Peacebuilding in the Afro-Colombian Town of Libertad (Sucre)
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2018-07) Rojas, Juan Sebastián; Tuohy, Sue; McDowell, John
    Throughout the world, violent conflicts negatively impact economies, cultural practices, and the social relations within societies. Focusing on a case study of a cooperative national and community effort that highlights musical and traditional cultural practices, this dissertation explores programs aimed at peacebuilding in post-conflict societies. The Afro-Caribbean town of Libertad, Colombia, suffered violent ruptures during a rightwing paramilitary occupation between 1996 and 2004. In 2007, the Colombian national government began working with community members to implement a Collective Reparation Plan to assist in rebuilding the community and its social fabric. Based on local beliefs that cultural and artistic practices play key roles creating frameworks for collective action and community-building, they designed projects to revive traditional musics and cultural expressions as well as to create new works that resonate more directly with the youth. The revival of traditional funerary wake games and the construction of the musical genre bullenrap—a fusion of hip-hop and local bullerengue—exemplify local strategies for ameliorating problems such as the loss of traditional knowledges and intergenerational tensions in creative and nonviolent ways. Liberteño artists have built frameworks for solidarity and education through participatory performances that empower community members and address local issues through empathy. Based on long-term ethnographic research, this dissertation argues that these programs have been successful because they: 1) build upon a long history of using cultural expressions to foster community solidarity and collective action; 2) foster collective initiatives of local leaders and their social capital; 3) embody the creative resilience of artists in managing local cultural resources towards social ends, and 4) maximize the participatory approach within government programs, advocating sensitivity to local needs. Contributing to the literature in ethnomusicology and peacebuilding, this dissertation offers a methodology for research and design of programs that recognize the transformative potentials of musical and cultural practices in post-conflict scenarios in Colombia and around the world.
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    The Truth About 9/11 Truth Movement: A Folkloristic Study
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2017-10) Singleton, Stephanie L; Goldstein, Diane
    Conspiracy theories and their socio-cultural impact have been analyzed with great interest by numerous folklorists. Heretofore, these studies have examined conspiracy theory as a specific type of rumor or legend. This includes folklore research that examines conspiracy theories surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. Through in-depth interviews and interactions with 9/11 Truth Movement activists, this study explores structural characteristics, content, socio-political functions, and folk beliefs that undergird conspiracy theories and inform their creation. This study concludes that a conspiracy theory is a genre of folkloric behavior. Therefore, methodologies used to study rumor and legend, as well as debunking approaches which carry implicit biases and contextualization, greatly limit the identification and understanding of what a conspiracy theory attempts to communicate and the process by which it informs behavioral responses.
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    “Inside of Each Story Was a Piece of My Story”: Applied Folklore Addressing Stigma Around Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University[, 2017-02) Perkins, Jodine; Jackson, Jason Baird
    Situated within scholarship on applied folklore, this dissertation discusses and evaluates the 2013–2015 Pacific Post Partum Support Society’s (PPPSS) “Strengthening Community-based Resources for Families Experiencing Perinatal Depression and Anxiety and Their Health Care Providers” project. In this project, working with PPPSS staff, contractors, and volunteers, I used mixed methods to create educational resources and new services for clients and professional helpers. The overall project was designed to reduce the stigma of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) and to encourage struggling new parents to reach out for help sooner, when treatment is likely to be less expensive and more effective. Making use of post-project follow-up interviews with project participants and staff, this dissertation documents, reflects on, and evaluates this project in order to serve as a case study to guide the development and implementation of similar applied folklore projects. By analyzing the narratives of project participants, this dissertation also examines the multifaceted, pervasive, and profound impact of stigma on new parents’ perinatal experiences, especially those experiencing a PMAD. This dissertation also discusses the process of sharing personal experience narratives in a supportive environment that formed the key inspiration for this applied project, as well some of the potential impacts on parents who share these narratives, including providing a way to understand their own experiences. This dissertation encourages additional applied folklore work to support struggling new parents and offers suggestions for how health care providers, community support workers, and friends and family members can better support new parents in the hopes of promoting positive outcomes for families.
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    The Michiana Aesthetic: Community and Collaboration in an Emerging Pottery Tradition
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2016-08) McGriff, Meredith A.E.; Shukla, Pravina
    Drawing on extensive ethnographic field research, this dissertation explores the professional lives of a group of potters in Michiana, an informal region centered around the border of northern Indiana and southern Michigan. It focuses on the emergence and ongoing development of a regionally specific pottery tradition, which has been built over the last twenty to thirty years by a growing group of potters, most of whom note that the presence of additional, likeminded potters is a major reason they choose to pursue their craft in this location. While previous material culture studies in folklore have often focused on tracing the social life of a certain type of object, this study looks at professional potters as an occupational group and considers the significance of developing a strong sense of community with others in the same profession. Much of the premise of this dissertation lies in the fact that presence matters; local places, personalized spaces, and face-to-face interactions are crucial to these potters in many ways, even when they do not work in the same studio together. These individual artists rely on numerous social connections: through a shared history, religion, and/or lifestyle preferences; through communal educational spaces and the development of vocational habitus; through the collaborative process of wood firing and liminal experiences; through the objects they exchange, collect, and hold dear. The included chapters each illuminate one of these social connections that is of benefit, and reveals how each aspect has played a role in the development of a sense of community among the potters who share a vocation in Michiana. Throughout the text, embodied experiences such as sense of space, physicality of the work, and the tactile experience of pottery play a key role in the potters’ shared understanding of their work. As a whole, this study suggests a structured approach for the ethnographic study of the social lives of contemporary artists and demonstrates the importance of acknowledging the everyday interpersonal and embodied connections that influence an individual artist.
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    The Ravenous Spirit (phii pob) Belief Tradition in Contemporary Thailand: Pluralistic Practices versus Monolithic Representation
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2016-03) Wattanagun, Kanya; Foster, Michael Dylan
    The ravenous spirit belief tradition in northeast Thailand is practiced variably in different belief communities. However, Thai academia and mass media exclusively draw on the abusive aspects of this belief tradition. The negative and monolithic representation reinforces the preconceived idea of the "superstitious" folk whose false logic generate barbaric social practices that need to be eliminated. Also, it reinforces a simplistic but dominant understanding among non-believers that ravenous spirit beliefs are practiced in the same way everywhere and generate abusive social practices in all contexts. In response to this problem, this dissertation illustrates three main points: (1) The ravenous spirit belief tradition is practiced variably in different social contexts. (2) The dominant discourses about the ravenous spirit belief tradition produced by Thai academia and mass media are problematic because they neglect the benign variants of the tradition. (3) Ravenous spirit beliefs, rather than reflecting a false logic, are believers' logical attempts to make sense of, and devise sensible reactions to, baffling and troublesome experiences.
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    Tradition in Process: Framing Tradition in Cultural Preservation and Invention in Jixian in the Course of the Modernization of China
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2015-10) Chen, Xiaohong; Jackson, Jason B.
    In this report of ethnographic research, I explore the relationships characterizing tradition and modernity, culture and economy, and the roles played by the state, local agencies, community, and individuals in the pursuit of local tourism and culturally-focused economic development. My study is based on research observing and analyzing local cultural projects and daily cultural life in Jixian, China. Specific cases include restoring ancient structures, organization of the Dule Temple Fair, and the development of rural cultural tourism and local folk art products. To understand broader themes in these contexts, I formulate a theoretical model of processing tradition in terms of “preserving,” “reconstructing and remaking,” and “inventing” tradition. This research shows that tradition and modernity are co-constitutive aspects of common process of social change. Tradition contributes to the acceleration of local modernization, whereas, modernization revitalizes tradition with new values and functions in promoting local development. In the context of China, processes relating to local heritage and tradition are incorporated into the state’s modernization plans. In Jixian, local agencies and individuals have wisely used their own strategies to negotiate the conflicts between traditional life and modern life. They have been aware that tradition is a treasure for them to use in building today’s and tomorrow’s life. They creatively find ways to utilize, adapt, and invent traditions and to make tradition modern so as to serve contemporary social needs.
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    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 1984-08) Webster, Sheila Krieg; El-Shamy, Hasan
    The purpose of this dissertation is to evaluate the link between the contents of a major art form, the proverb, and ethnographic reality vis a vis honor and shame in Arab culture. The emphasis is on the context of cultural meaning as opposed to the context of interaction. A second consideration is whether well-known collections of Arabic proverbs available in English translation are reliable sources of data for folkloristic analyses of cultural expression. Items for analysis were culled from ten published collections of colloquial proverbs ranging geographically from Morocco to Iraq and spanning more than a century of work by native and non-native collectors. The substance--the literal evaluation of behavior or states contributing to honor or shame--was the criterion for selection of individual proverbs. Of a total corpus of 10,332 proverbs, a surprisingly small number were found explicitly relevant to honor/shame or closely related concepts such as generosity/stinginess, good/bad reputation, family, and so on. These 105 items were then analyzed in relation to ethnographic data on the honor/shame complex and peripheral concepts. A high, although not perfect, correlation was found between meaning in the proverbs, behaviors recorded in ethnographic literature, and such organizational aspects of culture as religion, family, hospitality and revenge. Inconsistent messages were expressed in proverbs concerning daughters, family ties, and secrecy, which are emotionally-charged and ambiguous areas of the culture. The proverbs are expressive of cultural ambiguities and provide a traditional means of supporting either side of an argument. Finally, the English translations used for this study appear to render accurately the traditional Arab view of honor and shame as integral measures of human worth.
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    Indie Music in Post-bomb Bali: Participant Practices, Scene Subjectivities
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2015-03) Moore, Rebekah Elizabeth; Reed, Daniel B
    This dissertation focuses on music practices that have been largely uncharted in Balinese music studies. In the twelve years following the 2002 terrorist bombings, during which time an economic downturn and subsequent accelerated tourism development and urbanization transformed southern Bali, several rock bands rose to national and international acclaim and, alongside other music professionals committed to the creative, professional, and social vitality of local music making, built a thriving independent music scene. By 2014, Bali was home to some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful bands in the Indonesian recording industry's history--though industry accolades were often tangential achievements for many music producers. What did preoccupy them is key to understanding the scene's historic growth and staying power. Shared preoccupations with style and genre, creativity, professional ethics, activism, and belonging deepened social bonds by coalescing attention around core social, environmental, and musical issues. Based on six years of knowing Bali's indie music producers as research interlocutors, colleagues, and friends, this study examines scene practices including rehearsals, performances, album production, tours, music activism, and "hanging out" (nongkrong) as conduits by which core ideals were created and shared. Research methods, derived from anthropology and ethnomusicology, included participation in scene practices, recorded interviews, casual conversations, and attention to "material culture," including hard copy and digital albums, music videos, and band merchandise. By applying theories derived from sociological phenomenology and symbolic interactionism, this study argues that habitual, music-related activities, as social interaction, establish subjective preoccupations that, as they come to be mutually valued, strengthen social alliances, sustain otherwise untenable music professions, and influence broader social and environmental issues. In post-bomb Bali, music-related practices were strategies for defining social relationships and inspiring collective action to both make a music scene happen and safeguard an island's diverse artistic, societal, and natural ecology.
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    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 1977-09) Tucker, Elizabeth Godfrey
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    Quiltmaking and Social Order in the Tennessee Delta in the Middle 20th Century
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2014-08) Klassen, Teri; Jackson, Jason B
    In an area dominated by large-farm cotton agriculture, a vernacular small-farm quilt culture was established in the Tennessee Delta by the early 1900s. Its improvisation-friendly methods allowed makers to make design decisions during construction while assuring a successful outcome: a visually attractive product that kept sleepers warm, fostered mutual-aid sociability, and did not require too much time or money. Since both blacks and whites accessed these methods, I argue that improvisational expressive genres emerge as a result of particular historical conditions, of which ethnic and racial-group heritage may be one element. I find that quiltmaking in this setting exemplified a larger class of vernacular forms that have both practical and expressive dimensions. Such forms provide the raw material by which members of a society can intensify network connections to achieve an experience of community while meeting subsistence needs. In southwestern Tennessee, expressive-subsistence activities such as quiltmaking were a widespread source of pride in small-farm identity. In this subordinate sector of plantation culture, such activities sustained a claim on the Upland South yeoman identity. Although scholars have credited exposure to urban culture and outside activist groups with motivating the Southern rural black participation that energized the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, I argue that internal conditions of small-farm life also played a key part. Among these were the confidence derived from self-sufficiency activities and the breakdown of cross-racial-group economic interdependence as labor-intensive agriculture ended. Quiltmaking might have disappeared as small-farm households shifted in the 1950s and 1960s to a more urban consumer-oriented lifestyle by choice and necessity. However, it survived because makers reconfigured it with new expressive meanings that met needs in their new lifestyle. These included an identity that foregrounded individuality rather than group membership, continuity with (or rejection of) the past, and family connectedness across space and generations.
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    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2014-05) Schmadel, Fredericka Ann; McDowell, John H.
    Worldview, myth, and the 1960's come together in a song, ritual, and legend corpus preserved in oral transmission, central to an Indiana Girl Scout camp's cultural production. As Levi-Strauss disciple Lee Drummond would term it, Camp Henry F. Koch formed the identities of a dozen or more successful women still in supportive contact fifty years later. Primitive camping as wilderness therapy moved the camp community into communion with the Goddess Natura. Arriving solo, for unit-based camping, each camper assumed the role of Vladimir Propp's mission-centered folktale heroine. The role of supernatural gift-giver, such as Baba Yaga, was the counselors' to play. A traditional camp song, "Magalena Hagalena," typifies the residual force -- archetype in the Jungian sense -- that elevated and ennobled the social and emotional lives of adolescent girls. One of them reported liberation from something resembling Asperger's syndrome.
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    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2013-12) Lawton, Arthur John; Glassie, Henry
    Limited Pre-Modern calculating skills favored geometry for design and layout. Technical limitations precluding durable, detailed measured drawings favored sequentially proportional steps transmitting information from design to construction. The Ancient Egyptian phrase "Casting the plan-net on the ground" implies a rectilinear network of geometrical lines serving to locate plan elements on the ground. Reconstruction of Polykleitos' Kanon demonstrates design parameters based on sequential proportionality that extracts a "correctly" proportioned human figure from an original square base figure. Fifteenth century booklets describe extraction of a completed architectural form from the base figure. Iconographic sources trace these Ancient World methods from their use in practical implementation to symbolization as eighteenth century remembrances in Free Mason paraphernalia. To associate floor plan elements with a rectilinear network, plan-net geometry manipulates proportional relationships of squares and rectangles in sequentially proportional steps. Geometrical design steps by divider and straightedge are identical to ground-lines steps by cord and peg, eliminating calculation from scale change. Marking plan features by plan-net analysis reveals an inherent geometrical unity that appears to cross diachronic and synchronic borders. Varied plan-net patterns offer a new perspective for classifying vernacular floor plans. Conformance to plan-net lines by indeterminate architectural elements validates elements in question and suggests other elements missing from the architectural or archeological record. Seeking to understand how a house is thought as Henry Glassie said, and if culture is pattern in the mind, then plan-net analysis renders such pattern visible, to be understood as a unity crossing boundaries of culture and time but whose products can be differentiated as artifacts localized within cultural and temporal boundaries. To understand what has disappeared from the record, we must be willing to imagine what was, and then test what is imagined to ascertain how it fits to what is.
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    The ritual humor of students: capping at Victoria University, 1902-1988
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 1992-04) Smith, Moira Lorrraine; McDowell, John H
    Capping is graduation; in New Zealand it consists of both formal ceremonies and a festival of ludic events produced by undergraduates. This study examines capping at one New Zealand university from 1902 to 1988, with detailed examination of the ceremonies themselves, into which students introduced interjection and horseplay; the satirical and frequently outrageous student processions through the city; and the large-scale hoaxes that students perpetrated on members of the public. These activities flourished even though they severely tested public and official tolerance, and were often judged to have gone "over the limit." Since 1970, however, capping has retrenched and become less public because, according to insiders, of a failure of license. Capping raises the problem of how license for festivity, reversal, and ritual humor is achieved in a modern complex society. Using Gregory Bateson's and Erving Goffman's concepts of play, license, and framing, I investigate how students obtained and kept license for capping for over eighty years, framing their performances as spontaneous play. At the same time however, a chorus public disapproval, even outrage, was a constant accompaniment to capping. Accounts of conflict in and opponents to festivity are no new thing in the literature on urban festivals. However, concepts of festivity, festive license, and Max Gluckman's model of ritual reversal all treat antagonism and opposition as extrinsic elements and as indications of the dysfunction of license. This study revises the model incorporate the existence of opposition and negative evaluations as intrinsic ingredients, which in the case of capping were valued by performers as a sign of successful performance. With this revision of the concept of festive license in mind, the retrenchment of capping cannot be attributed to the failure of license. The cause is sought instead in an ideological shift that has occurred throughout the western world since the Second World War. In this shift, the political implications of humorous public performances like capping have been made explicit, rendering ritual humor problematic in a way that exceeds the usual problems of achieving festive license.
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    A life of any worth : life histories of retired Brandeis University faculty
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 1994) Griff, Hanna; Dolby, Sandra K
    Making sense of lives has an awkward history in the discipline of folklore. For many years, storytellers were seen as the bearers of tradition they did not own. Folklore texts of all sorts were regarded as a collective representation of a group rather than a personal possession of individuals. When folklorists realized that the ballad singers or storytellers were recognized by their own community and very much aware of their role, they began to ask questions about the individuals' lives, influences in their lives, in order to help explain the role of the particular folklore in their folk group. Thus, the life of the performer became important in collecting and evaluating the text (and became a required appendix to all studies). Drawing upon the works of such scholars as Bauman, Dolby, and Goffman, this dissertation examines the life history as host to the many dimensions and genres of folklore. Life history is egocentric: the teller presents it imbedded in the current of his/her own life and the facts of this life are biased by his/her views. This condition may prove useful in the search for an adequate classification system to guide us through this body of everyday narration. Except for practical, thematic distinctions, or distinctions according to permanent, transitory or ad-hoc social groups to which the teller relates his story, no attempt has yet been made to create analytical order. In an attempt to make sense of the lives of retired professors, I look at this "hodgepodge" of stories that many scholars propose to edit and present the texts as performed to me: as an oral text or narrative, responding to a prepared questionnaire; as the product of an analytic conversation between folklorist and informant; and as spontaneous narration, where the folklorist tries to minimize his/her influence on the natural context and allows the informant free expression. Separate chapters of the study demonstrate how life histories, processed through inspiration, as they become self reflective, occurring in any narrative moment serve many functions. They unite a group of professors through the actual performance of the life, circumstances of history and through the presentation of self. Throughout the dissertation I will present various examples of life histories, unedited, to underscore the notion that life histories defy the notion of story because they are not linear and need to be read and listened to in their natural uninterrupted flow. Since the beginning of the discipline, there had been an undercurrent of belief that the Grimms wrote better stories and Krohn created an epic where there was none. That's what's wrong with framing life histories and why one needs to be reminded to appreciate the performance of folklore.
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    Archiving Culture: American Folklore Archives in Theory and Practice
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2010-12-13) Kolovos, Andrew Arthur; Schrempp, Gregory; Smith, Moira
    American folklorists have long preserved their research materials in repositories dedicated to this purpose. The motivations for saving these items and the methods of doing so have changed over time, but the practice of preserving research materials has persisted as a central aspect of folkloristics into the present--one that distinguishes it from other ethnographic disciplines such as anthropology. Although these collections go by many names--including folk archives, folklife archives, and ethnographic archives--for the sake of this dissertation I label these collections categorically as folklore archives. Issues related to intellectual property rights and intangible cultural heritage, while important to consider, are beyond the scope of this project. Despite the ubiquity of folklore archives in the discipline, they are an understudied aspect of historical and contemporary practice in folkloristics. This dissertation examines the role of folklore archives in the field, the nature of these collections, and the growing influence on them from theories and practices originating in the fields of library science and archival management. Folklore archives were at one time a distinct product of the discipline of folkloristics, reflecting disciplinary practice and responding to disciplinary need. As theoretical and methodological approaches within the field changed, the utility of these old archival forms diminished dramatically. Rather than abandoning the creation of archives all together, folklorists began to modify archival practice to suit changing needs. Of particular significance is the impact of the requirements of public folklore work on folklore archives, including the reuse and repurposing of archival materials in publications, exhibitions and public events, as well as an increased emphasis on collaborative engagement with communities of origin. Folklore archives in the present are increasingly shaped by the theories and methods of professionally trained archivists. Folklore archives are developing into a hybrid form that draws on both the legacy of archiving in folkloristics and aspects of the well-developed body of theory that informs the work of professional archivists outside of folklore.
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    Folkloric behavior : a theory for the study of the dynamics of traditional culture
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 1967) El-Shamy, Hasan M.
    "Folklore" may be defined as a class of learned, traditional responses forming a distinct type of behavior. The individual must undergo the psychological process of learning in order to acquire the responses of folkloric behavior, and this learning process occurs under conditions determined by social and cultural factors. The fundamental factors involved in learning are: drive, cue, response, and reward. Secondary factors such as repetition, recency, and ego involvement can contribute, but their presence is not required in the process of learning. Folkloric behavior is distinguishable from non traditional, non folkloric behavior, and consequently, folkloric responses are distinguishable from other classes of responses, such as those characteristic of modern science and technology. Thus, folklorists should initially concern themselves with folkloric responses (narrating, believing, singing, applying a proverb, or dancing) and relevant social and cultural factors before proceeding to the study of the folklore items themselves (narratives, beliefs, songs, proverbs, or dances). Through the application of psychological theories of individual and social learning to folkloric phenomena, we can gain an understanding of the forces affecting the perpetuation or extinction of folklore and thus can explain the function of a particular folkloric response in a particular community.
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    Truth, Justice and the American Way: Structure, Narrative and Nation in Tourist Performances in Salem, MA
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2010-06-16) Aldred, Benjamin Grantham; Dolby, Sandra K.; Janelli, Roger
    Looking at six performances (including tourist `museums' and walking tours) for the October influx of tourists to Salem, Massachusetts, this work outlines the way each performance encodes within a structural perspective on the nature of the Salem Witch Hysteria through the selective inclusion, exclusion and parallelizing of various events and characters. These perspectives are analyzed for their broader insight into narratives of national character, examining the way in which national character can be examined not as an objective force influencing production of narratives but as a form of discursive repetition, creating national character through repeated acts of unifying narrative. Also explored are the genealogical roots of these narratives, both in popular media about the witch trials and in historical explorations of the period. The fundamental argument at the heart of the work is that historical narratives are produced by creating a meta-narrative that produces a spectral American character, existing in the minds of the observers but not in any objective way.
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    Transnational Communities through Global Tourism: Experiencing Celtic Culture through Music Practice on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2010-06-04) Lavengood, Kathleen Elizabeth; Stone, Ruth
    How are transnational communities experienced? What types of social interactions constitute transnational communities? Specifically, can a sense of transnational community be expressed and experienced through participation in cultural music performances? Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, is currently the heart of the North Atlantic Celtic music revival. Fueled by a booming tourism industry, efforts in cultural preservation, and claims as a last stronghold of Gaelic speakers outside Scotland, Cape Breton Island is an international gathering place for tourists and performers to encounter the larger community of Celtic musicians. This ethnography of a transnational music community explores the ways in which geographically disparate peoples encounter the transnational Celtic music community, learn what it means to belong, and through participation, become full members in the community. I argue that the transnational Celtic music community is best described as a community of practice, where members are active participants in the practices of social communities and constructing identities in relation to these communities. The role of international tourism, traditional arts schools, festivals, and interactive websites are examined through the lens of phenomenology and performance theory. Although primary research is based in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, field research extends to Scotland, Canada, and the United States, in order to examine the increasingly complex circulation of cultural meanings, objects, and identities of human inter-connectedness. Issues raised in this case study are cross-disciplinary in nature and can be applied broadly to research on globalization, international relations, and diasporic communities. More specifically, this research contributes directly to the field of ethnomusicology, folklore, performance theory, and tourism studies.
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    Stories about Stories: Life Story Collecting as Commemoration and Social Activism
    ([Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University, 2010-06-01) Akerbergs, Ilze; McDowell, John; Carpenter, Inta
    The oral life-story is a flexible genre that allows one to connect the private with the public world. It is a window that allows the world to catch a glimpse of the personal experiences and values of the ordinary person. The representations of self and the past that are embodied in life-stories can be used as tools by researchers and activists for larger agendas that create meanings in culture and society. This dissertation deals with two different ways life-story collecting has served two different objectives. Mara in Latvia has created a "master story" that fills and commemorates the "silenced gaps" in Latvian history left by its fifty years under Soviet rule; Karen in Brazil has created a "master story" that works for social change and embraces the diversity of Brazil and the world. Through analysis of Mara's and Karen's own life-stories and the products they have produced, this study examines the "master story" each has created from the many life-stories told to them, against the cultural and political backdrop of Latvia and Brazil.