Book Reviews one, and an important facet of Blevins's critique. The history of the discipline demonstrates how early folklore scholarship was embedded within cultural assumptions that exoticized and denigrated people even when folklorists were arguing that their scholarship supported and affirmed traditional life. Blevins conscientiously demonstrates how folklore scholarship and public presentations of folklore have been complicit in creating and perpetuating inaccurate and degrading images of the Ozarks. As a contribution to new formulations of folklore theory, Blevins's critique is flawed by dated ideas about the discipline and practice of folklore. He characterizes folk culture, for example, as comprised of traditional expressive forms that were "the products of an inwardlooking, enclosed, unself-conscious people." He follows up his characterization of folklore by adding that "folk arts were not performance arts" (pp. 2589). These types of statements become a problem if readers assume that Blevins's characterization of folklore represents contemporary thinking in the discipline. Most folklorists would object to the way that Blevins historicizes folk traditions by placing them into the past. Folklorists have criticized the characterization of folklore as an expression of "unself-conscious people" for decades, and performance-centered approaches provide fascinating ways of looking at folklore, including material folk
Journal of American Folklore – American Folklore Society
Published: Oct 29, 2004
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