To Explain Tradition
AbstractTradition has been claimed to be a keyword in the folklore lexicon. Yet the word has not proved central to the thinking of many folklorists. More often, the term is simply used to mark territory. By characterizing certain songs, tales, dances, or customs as traditions, such expressions and behaviors are declared to be part of the discipline’s proper subject. But the term is usually theoretically empty. It is rarely defined, and it raises no critical questions. In this essay, tradition is defined, the critical questions evoked by this definition are specified, and some of the ways that folklorists might go about answering these questions are delineated.
Under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license, the author(s) and users are free to share (copy, distribute and transmit the contribution) under the following conditions: 1. they must attribute the contribution in the manner specified by the author or licensor, 2. they may not use this contribution for commercial purposes, 3. they may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
Authors retain the following rights:
- copyright, and other proprietary rights relating to the article, such as patent rights,
- the right to use the substance of the article in future own works, including lectures and books,
- the right to reproduce the article for own purposes, provided the copies are not offered for sale,
- the right to self-archive the article.