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Folklore, Folklorism and Contemporary Audience
Folklore, Folklorism and Contemporary Audience (Summary) The author discusses the theoretical and practical oppo¬sitions between "folklore" and "folklorism". According to a defini¬tion, the first concept denotes folk art in its "pure" and original form, created by people (as a cultural/historical, ethnic unit). The second pertains to degradation of this original folk art by "foreign intrusions" which erode the authentic style. Another definition determines folklore as a creation of interaction within primary human groups, i.e., those groups in which communication is unmediated. Such groups, then, are generators, transferors, recipients, and censors of folklore at the same time. Folklorism, in this case, is presentation or application of such folklore creations in other spheres of social life (tourism, show-business, advertising etc.), to the recipients and for the purposes which have nothing to do with their original creation. It is said that in such instances folklore is not in its, authentic mode of existence, but in a secondary, mediated existence. Common to both definitions is a high evaluation of folklore as authentic human creativity, while folklorism is considered false and negative. In theory, they are mutually exclusive. Developing her argument on the second definition, the author demonstrates that in practice folklor and folklorism interact in many ways. This point is illustrated by yearly national folklore festival in Zagreb. Folklore events in thé official part of the fe¬stival (presentation of "authentic" dances and songs on the stage of a major concert hall) are mostly reconstructions of already dead art forms, presented in accord with a dominant choreographic and ethnographic model; the unofficial part of the festival, however, which is held in the open, off stage, includes a lot of the active performers-audience interaction, new folklore creations, modern va¬riations of music and text, art elements of non-folklore origin, etc. In short, folklore and folklorism sometimes seem to reverse their roles: "authentic" traditional folklore appears on stage in its secondary, alienated existence; on the other hand, that what we de¬fine as folklorism, realizes itself through a direct interaction of some performers and social groups in order to cover various needs. The author concludes that we still could retain the theoretical distinction between folklore and folklorism (in the sense of the second definition) if at the same time we emphasize more the processes between the two opposed poles than the theore¬tical poles themselves.
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