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Contexts of Folklore

Festschrift for Dan Ben-Amos on His Eighty-Fifth Birthday


Edited By Simon J. Bronner and Wolfgang Mieder

Dan Ben-Amos famously ushered in the performance turn in folklore studies in the 1970s with his paradigm-changing definition of folklore as "artistic communication in small groups." He went on to make profound contributions to issues of folktale, folk speech, genre, cultural memory, biblical and Jewish folklore, African folklore, and historiography, and gain renown around the world as a leading figure in folklore studies. In Contexts of Folklore, leading lights of folklore studies from many corners of the globe honor Ben-Amos by presenting original studies inspired by his insights. Their essays will assuredly be lasting, provocative statements of folklore research that will energize future generations of folklorists and other scholars of culture and communication.

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14. A Quantitative Cross-Cultural Analysis of Folk Crafts in Relation to Foreign Aid in Developing Countries (Md Abdullah Al Mamun / Simon J. Bronner)


14. A Quantitative Cross-­Cultural Analysis of Folk Crafts in Relation to Foreign Aid in Developing Countries

Md Abdullah Al Mamun

University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh


Simon J. Bronner

The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA

Several obstacles in the twentieth century have stymied more quantitative macro-­analysis among folklorists: the challenge of finding sufficient comparable, representative statistical data; the reluctance of humanistic folklorists to quantify or objectify expressive cultural material; and the difficulty of assessing economic factors as part of a broader sociocultural context. Yet the availability in the twenty-­first century of electronically accessible “big data” has revived interest in quantitative analysis, although the ability to code oral expression remains a thorny issue (Laudun and Goodwin 2013; Tangherlini 2016; Tangherlini and Broadwell 2014). Previous quantitative folkloristic efforts have relied heavily on the ethnographic database of the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF), especially for games and music as objectifiable genres (Lomax 1968; Sutton-­Smith and Roberts 1971), but limiting interpretation was a lack of documentable socioeconomic value and ability to cross-­reference to political systems. Not usually categorized as commercial commodities, folk cultural items seldom have been tabulated for national production and rarely have been the subject of formulaic representation (for exceptions, see Jones 1971; Mamun 2017; Yang, Shafi, Song, and Yang 2018; Vahlo 2018). Statistical analysis for countable material genres probably more than oral and social expressions offers benefits for macro-­study, notably with folk...

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