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FOLKLORE, PUBLIC SPHERE AND CIVIL SOCIETY

Edited by M.D. MUTHUKUMARASWAMY and MOLLY KAUSHAL

2004, x+317pp., ISBN: 81-901481-4-1, Rs. 400


 

The discipline of folklore has always addressed the travel of folklore by consistently paying attention to several versions of the same texts and by offering meticulous sociological accounts for their existence. The philosophical premise of acknowledging versions even when they are contradictory lends itself, by expansion, to a vision of a multitude of public spheres inside a civil society. The emerging vision of society is one of polyphonic concert punctuated by recognizable gestures. What we see is a "performing society" that generates public opinion not necessarily through rational verbal arguments and dialogues but also through gestures, genres, frames, versions, performances, stories, narratives and codes.

It is precisely in this context that folklore studies reveal how communities break hierarchies, articulate aspirations that are political and otherwise, constitute new identities, establish inter-cultural contacts and undergo changes through cultural borrowings. As identities are constantly created and recreated, what we encounter through folklore is a complex cultural phenomenon not necessarily rational but in alignment with the logic of the cultures concerned. Such processes do create and influence public opinion.

This collection of papers presented in a symposium ogranized in New Delhi in 2002 aligns three sociological categories - folklore, public sphere and civil society­ in relation to each other in order to capture social and cultural dynamics.

 


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Copyright IGNCAŠ 2004

Distributor: National Folklore Support Centre, Chennai.