Alleviating Folkloristics Theory Anxiety What Can Folklorists Learn from Conceptualizations of Tradition in Anthropology of Islam?

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Ehsan Estiri


The perceived "folkloristics theory anxiety" may partly result from the fact that one of the grandest theoretical paradigms in the field of folk studies—traditionalization—does not address critical concerns of folklorists in regards with the omnipresence of political and ideological discourses in everyday life. I propose that by studying and learning from the concept of “discursive tradition,” theorized by Talal Asad in the field of anthropology of Islam, folklorists may be able to navigate ways to re-conceptualize traditionalization as a process influenced by political, ideological discourses that generates power in the vernacular life. Such reformulation of traditionalization as a discursive process can address folkloristics’ concerns pertaining to interventions of political and ideological discourses in everyday life.  

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Estiri, E. (2019). Alleviating Folkloristics Theory Anxiety. New Directions in Folklore, 16(1), 15-26. Retrieved from