Dynamics of Tradition
Perspectives on Oral Poetry and Folk Belief
Dynamics of Tradition is a festschrift dedicated to the Finnish folklorist, Academy Professor Anna-Leena Siikala. Contributors include distinguished folklorists from around the world. All the writers have collaborated with her in various projects, and the range of their topics reflects her multifaceted research interests: mythology, tradition processes in ethnic and national contexts, epic studies, shamanism and the study of narration to name a few. The internationality of the contributors leads to an inherently comparative approach to tradition which, as it is implied, is always plural and to be understood as cultural traditions. The join effort of the authors pays tribute to the credo of Anna-Leena Siikala: When we come together in the world, we learn a lot.
The present volume shows clearly the reflexive nature of the study of folklore. The dynamics of creating histories, nations, ideologies and identities are treated in various cultural arenas and historical contexts, ranging from academic, national and literate cultures to oral traditions. The reader is invited to witness the very creation of ethnographic data in topical studies based on fieldwork. From the ethnographic encounter with folk religion, the focus shifts to mythological traditions and the study of mythology. The section dedicated to epic studies offers a comparative view of epic poetry in carious cultural settings. The genre of oral or oral-derived epic is a textual arena in which various cultural and historical agents, ideologies and traditions meet in dialogue or in conflict. The volume concludes with four texts inspired by Siikala's studies in the cognitive and affective processes involved in narration and systems of belief. Although historically and socially conditioned, the dynamics of tradition is the dynamics of the human mind in all of its faculties.
Finnish Literature Society, 2003
paperback, 390 pages, 6.8 x 0.9 x 9.8 inches