Folklore and Oral Cultures


Folklore, loosely speaking, is “traditional” culture, and it consists of the vernacular patterns, practices, and performances of culture that are repeated and varied as they occur. Often viewed as heavily connected with orality, oral transmission, or oral culture, folklore forms can range quite widely from oral narratives like folktales or legends, to material culture like quilts or handcrafts, to embodied forms like dance, gesture, or dramatic performance, or even to technologically mediated forms like online jokes, legends, or games. Given the diversity of forms considered by folklorists, one of the most significant unifying forces in the discipline of folkloristics has been the development of methods of study that allow for the close study of cultural practices and human expression. These methods form a key set of tools for scholars in any field who have interest in the deep study of cultural forms and expressions and are especially relevant in a period in which the integration of new interactive technological forms into everyday life has brought vernacular practices and expressions into a central place in public life around the world.

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