Digitizing and virtualizing folklore

Simon Josef Bronner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

29 Scopus citations


One popular sense of tradition signals a human, even naturalistic connection. In this view, tradition is down home, out in the fields, back in the woods, where socializing, ritualizing, and storytelling occur unencumbered by machines or corporations. Hearing tradition uttered often raises images of family huddled around the dinner table at holidays or the neighborhood gang getting together for play, and it might be imaginatively set in opposition to the socially alienating quality of modernity dominated by technology. The rhetoric of tradition cited in folkloristic annals is not that far off from these characterizations, although it may broaden to a variety of settings-urban as well as rural, industrial as well as agricultural- and include folk transmission via a host of technologies, from printing press to photocopier (Bendix 1997; Bronner 1998). Still, analytical uses of tradition typically evoke a community's naturally authentic customs or face-to-face expressive encounters, in contrast to the artificiality of technology. The folklorist's tradition signifies cultural production of earthy artistic expressions, from homey proverbs to handwrought pots, which are said to be folk because they attach culturally to groups and repeat and vary. To be sure, the joke of the day or the latest rumor on the Internet may be pegged as lore or urban legend, but it is hard to shake the image of folk connections made around the campfire rather than through FireWire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFolklore and the Internet
PublisherUtah State University Press
Number of pages46
ISBN (Print)9780874217506
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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