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Indiana University Press

Grand Theory in Folkloristics

Grand Theory in Folkloristics

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Why is there no Grand Theory in the study of folklore? Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) advocated grand theory, which put the analysis of social phenomena on a new track in the broadest possible terms. Not all sociologists or folklorists accept those broad terms; some still adhere to the empirical level. Through a forum sponsored by the American Folklore Society, the diverse answers to the question of such a theory arrived at substantial agreement: American folklorists have produced little grand theory. One speaker even found all the theory folklorists need in the history of philosophy. The two women in the forum (Noyes and Mills) spoke in defense of theory that is local, apt, suited to the audience, and humble; the men (Bauman and Fine) reached for something Parsons might have recognized. The essays in this collection, developed from the forum presentations, defend diverse positions, but they largely accept the longstanding concentration in American folkloristics on the quotidian and local.

Author: Lee Haring
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Published: 09/19/2016
Pages: 168
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.56lbs
Size: 9.00h x 6.00w x 0.39d
ISBN: 9780253024398

About the Author

Lee Haring is Professor Emeritus of English at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and has carried out folklore research in Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, and the other islands of the Southwest Indian Ocean. He is the author of Verbal Arts in Madagascar and Stars and Keys (IUP 2007), a collection of folktale translations from the Indian Ocean islands.

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