Download e-book for iPad: Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts: A Guide to Research by Ruth Finnegan


By Ruth Finnegan

Oral literature, oral culture, verbal folklore, folks literature, oral functionality, pop culture - those parts of human communique and function at the moment are attracting expanding recognition from social anthropologists. Designed as a advisor either to the practicalities of fieldwork and to the variety of equipment during which oral texts and function should be saw, amassed or analysed, "Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts" takes the reader via the entire levels of getting ready for, accomplishing, and following up examine. specific emphasis is laid at the contemporary interdisciplinary paintings on functionality, at the "processes" concerned about the construction and research of texts, and on comparable moral concerns. The ebook is particular in its comparative standpoint, with examples taken from either historic and smooth cultures, starting from African and South Pacific varieties to these from modern Europe. Theoretical controversies approximately process and terminology are clarified, and an entire and up to date bibliography is integrated. This booklet will be of curiosity to scholars and academics of anthropology, cultural experiences, folklore, oral literature, basic readers.

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Extra resources for Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts: A Guide to Research Practices (Asa Research Methods in Social Anthropologists)

Example text

Later developments both built on and changed the earlier approaches. Social and political reassessments consequent on experience in and, later, disengagement from empire, and on more recent cultural interactions in a global framework, both reinforced and questioned the binary and evolutionary models. Wider scholarly developments also played a part, among them the general moves in the social sciences (and perhaps in intellectual approaches generally) towards a greater interest in societal conditions, social dynamics, and specifie historical processes rather than generalised origins.

Each could be criticised from one viewpoint or another. , Blacking 1967, Almqvist et al. 1987, Whybray 1987, Lord 1960, Blackburn 1988. Lawless 1987, 1988, Finnegan 1970, 1988, Sharp 1932, Nagy 1985, Feld 1990, Dundes 1977). Without the stimulus of these terms, however controversial, much of this work might never have been undertaken, nor would scholars initially attending to only certain limited aspects have been challenged to consider a wider range of human cultural activity. It is interesting to notice the general move away from terms associated with earlier evolutionist or ‘Great Divide’ theories towards, in one direction, more specific genre words and, in the other, wider terms like ‘discourse’, ‘popular culture’ or ‘narrative’.

But there is now no longer the same universal confidence that texts in this, or any, sense form the natural focus for research into oral arts and traditions, and earlier assumptions are challenged in current work within social, literary and anthropological studies. This section indicates controversies that need to be confronted if in any way the concept of text underlies your research (as it almost certainly will, if only indirectly and implicitly). It does not try to cover the extended meaning of ‘text’ as shorthand for the rhetorical conventions shaping ethnographic and other SCOPE AND TERMINOLOGY 17 presentations (as in Clifford and Marcus 1986, Atkinson 1990) nor the broader sense of ‘text’ as ‘any coherent complex of signs’ (Bakhtin 1986: 103)—though these meanings are not unrelated to current critiques.

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