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Study of Folklore in Terms of Development and Evolution

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A systematic approach to the study of folklore

Anthropological and psychoanalytic survivals provide systematic approaches in the study of folklore because they offer rich sources of evidence that substantially support modern cultures and traditions relative to ancient times. Both Anthropological and psychoanalytic survivals give a view of ancient life coupled with examining the evolution of folklore throughout all human generations. Anthropological survivals such as cultures, traditions, and artifacts are folklores that the society hands over from one generation to another.

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Thus, folklores such as religious beliefs that appear not to have undergone any evolution with time are anthropological survivors. On the other hand, psychoanalytic survivors are cognitive and psychological factors that control human behavior. According to the psychoanalytic perspective of folklore study, human beings have gone through various stages of psychological development and evolution; for instance, supposedly the modern man has undergone an evolution from Homo volens, through Homo mechanics to Homo sapiens as the modern man. Such stages of evolution characterize human beings according to psychological capacities, which determine behavior development across all ages.

Functions of folklore in society

According to William Bascom, folklore has four fundamental functions in society. The first function of folklore is that it bridges the gap between modern society and ancient society by providing a window for modern human beings to perceive and understand the cultural values of the society which enhances problem-solving. Secondly, folklore validates cultural values, institutions, beliefs, and rituals because it depicts their historical origin and importance in society.

The third function of folklore is that it forms the basis for moral values that the society holds since these morals have stood the test of time. Ancient moral values that have stood the test of time are invaluable morals standards, which oblige the modern society to uphold and respect. Fourthly, folklore provides means of educating modern society and controlling social behavior amidst the rapidly changing dynamics of the social world.

Cultural and social forces of members of society

Feminism theory postulates that there is a great distinction between gender and sex in society because they are different entities that everyone possesses. Feminists argue that sex results from biological attributes that are in an individual, which depends on genetic, biochemical, and physical factors. Either a person can be a male or a female, based on biological attributes that feminists refuse to have any relationship with the gender.

In contrast, feminists define gender in terms of social structural factors such as behavior, position, role, and identity, which are subject to cultural values in society. Depending on cultural nature and nurture, a person can be either a man or a woman. The cultural and social forces shape individual members in the society to fit into their respective gender based on the perceived constructs that regulate social behaviors and roles in society.

Essay Questions

Historical and geographical approach to the study of folklore

Historic-geographic theory approaches the study of folklores according to their historical context in terms of time and place. Anthropological research has found out that historic evidence associated with a certain period of history emanates from certain geographical regions. Assumptions regarding historic times and places became evident when scientific studies of carbon dating gave accurate times thus validating subsequent anthropological studies.

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According to the historic-geographic theory, the distribution of folklore followed the trend of civilization that progressively occurred throughout history. This theory supports that the distribution of cultures, traditions, and artifacts demonstrates that certain archeological regions relate to certain historic periods. Although the historic-geography theory may be important in studying archeological sites and artifacts, it does not offer a sufficient view of psychoanalytic studies of varied cultures and traditions as distributed in various parts of the world.

Modern scholars have questioned the essence of the historic-geography theory and invented new approaches to studying and classifying folklore in terms of distributions and occurrence periods. Critics argue that the historic-geographic method of studying folklores does not provide a satisfactory basis to justify the distribution and relevance of the folklore materials to the modern world.

Moreover, the proponents of the historic-geographic theory assert that folklore studies are complex in that no single approach would satisfactorily give robust findings that would clearly define the distribution. Distribution of folklore has occurred in specific periods and places, thus historic-geographic studies would give sufficient information regarding folklore studies. Since the historic-geographic approach has been an invaluable strategy of exploring folklores for over a hundred years, it has demarcated historical periods and archeological sites and this aspect has made it easy for the selective study of folklore in the modern world.

The distribution of folklore across the world follows archeological and evolutionary patterns as folklorists concentrate on already established patterns, which enable the use of other approaches in folklore research. Given the diversity of folklores in the world, a generalization of their nature by assumptions and predictive scientific skills would not suffice to explain unique folklore attributes that depend on the specific periods and places. Thus, the geographical distribution of folklores enables the modern society to understand its origin while historic periods give evolutionary progress of culture and traditions that the society currently upholds.

Folklore in modern society

Applied folklore is very essential in revolutionizing modern society in terms of social, economic, and technological problems. Socially, applied folklore helps address social problems such as ethnicity, tribalism, racism, and religious intolerance.

When people realize through folklore studies that they have a common evolutionary origin, they tend to live harmoniously in society. Normally, the diversity of cultures, religions, and traditions as reflected in the society give the perception that people have different origins, which leads to animosity thus promoting social vices due to the allegedly existent differences. Since folklore provides historical and evolutional insights concerning the nature of human beings, it has a positive effect on social issues that threaten to tear society apart. Therefore, applied folklore is relevant in demystifying cultural and religious differences that elicit conflicts and hatred in society by enabling people to realize their common origin and destiny.

Applied folklore is relevant in solving economic and technological problems that modern society is facing. For instance, folklore studies offer an opportunity for modern economic and technological experts to understand underlying cultural and traditional values relative to ancient values that define contemporary society. Comparative studies of ancient and modern society provide an in-depth view of economic and technological problems, making it easy to formulate probable solutions.

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For instance, folklore enables economic experts to understand ancient lifestyles of various racial or ethnic groups, how they managed to survive through all generations into modern society, and formulate customized economic policies unique to their lifestyles. By doing so, economic experts do not only revolutionize their cultural and traditional lifestyles but also boost their economic standards in society. In solving technological problems, applied folklore is essential in designing user-friendly technological machines and software relative to symbolic communications.

For example, since communication is indispensable in modern society, designing communication symbols should relate to the folklore symbols and language to enhance effective learning and communication. Overall, applied folklore is imperative in solving modern problems as it provides the scope and orientation of problems that seem to perpetuate in society.

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