Grand Theory in Folkloristics
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Grand Theory in Folkloristics

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Description

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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 168 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 9.14mm | 218g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253024390
  • 9780253024398

About Lee Haring

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.show more

Table of contents

ForewordMichael Dylan Foster and Ray CashmanFolkloristics in the Twenty-First CenturyAlan DundesIntroductionAmerica's Antitheoretical FolkloristicsLee HaringThe Sweep of Knowledge: The Politics of Grand and Local Theory in FolkloristicsGary Alan FineWhat('s) Theory?Margaret A. MillsThe Philology of the VernacularRichard BaumanHumble TheoryDorothy NoyesGrand Theory, Nationalism, and American FolkloreJohn W. RobertsThere is No Grand Theory in Germany, and for Good ReasonJames R. DowResponsesWhat Theory IsNewton GarverWeak Theory in an Unfinished WorldKathleen StewartOr in Other Words": Recasting Grand TheoryKirin NarayanDisciplining FolkloristicsCharles L. BriggsAfterwordsReflections on Grand Theory, Graduate School, and Intellectual BallastChad Edward ButerbaughTen Years AfterLee Haringshow more