Academic journal article Western Folklore

A Response to Michael Owen Jones

Academic journal article Western Folklore

A Response to Michael Owen Jones

Article excerpt

The otherwise fine article by Michael Owen Jones appearing in "The Meanings of Tradition" special issue of Western Folklore (Spring 2000, Vol. 59, No. 2) is marred by an inaccurate and outdated reference to my textbook The Study of American Folklore. Jones begins by counting 46 appearances of the word (or concept) "tradition" in the first eight pages of the book; inexplicably, he cites the second edition of 1978. His mistake is the claim that "Explanations of the concept tradition are notably missing . . . from Brunvand's book and most other texts [and] also standard references . . . ." I cannot speak for the other sources he cites, but an explanation is certainly to be found in my own book.

I explain the concept on pages 6-7 of the edition cited, starting with the paragraph that begins "Folklore is traditional in two senses . . .," and continuing with some examples of traditional aspects of both folk and popular culture. Essentially the same explanation appears on pages 8-9 of the third edition of 1986. Both editions also address the topic of traditionality as applied to folk artifacts in a paragraph appearing on page 308 (2nd. edn) and in a new chapter introducing "folklife" in the 3rd. …

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