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Continuity: Folklore’s Problem Child?

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Mitchell 2014 Continuity Folklores Problem Child
Mitchell 2014 Continuity Folklores Problem Child
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Date:June 4, 2015

Abstract: : This essay examines the role of continuity in the study of medieval Northern popular cultural. Among other issues, it questions: the nature of continuity as a concept; the roles “tradition” and “continuity” have played in the development of folklore studies historically (e.g. Finnish Historical-Geographic Method, the “superorganic”) and their value today in relation to, e.g., memory studies and performance theory; and the use, and the misuse, of such tools over time, including by the National Socialists. I note that that the value of our ability to employ continuity as a scienti; c concept rests on our ability to demonstrate and evaluate four factors, namely, communality, variation, continuity and function. Importantly, far from being static, the role of continuity in the telling or enactment – the ‘doing’ – of folklore, is a dynamic, communicative and re-contextualized conception of inherited materials.

Originally Published:
Folklore in Old Norse, Old Norse in Folklore. NORDISTICA TARTUENSIA 20 Folklore in Old Norse – Old Norse in Folklore Edited by Daniel Sävborg and Karen Bek-Pedersen. Tartu, 2014.

Stephen Mitchell:
https://harvard.academia.edu/StephenMitchell