Understanding the phrase ‘research projects’ relies on first analyzing the meaning of the word research and its application in the academic world. The word research, originated from the French word ‘recherché’ which literally means to ‘seek closely’. Therefore, research project generally involves investigating a topic with the aim of learning more about the chosen subject matter. Investigating folklore genres is an apt project sample that takes into consideration the concept of research and how it aids the understanding of diverse cultures.
Folklore is the traditional beliefs, customs and stories of a community passed through generations by either orally or in writing. The term ‘community’ when used in describing folklore, covers both rural and urban settlements thereby debunking the myth that folklores originate solely from rural communities.
The multifaceted characteristics of folklore genres and their originations also create multiple sub categories or genres covering the different yet important facets of folklore. The 1965 Alan Dundee’s essay ‘What is Folklore?’ explored the possibility of multiple folklore genres and came up with a simplistic breakdown which covered some important categories on religious beliefs, music and art. These sample genres include material culture which refers to the psychical objects, living spaces, architecture and resources people use to define their culture. In rural communities, folklores are created out of the production tools, homes and places of worship its people use, while in urban communities, folklores originate from schools, work places and information technology (IT) trends peculiar to a community.
Beliefs and religion play a huge role in defining the culture of a community and the folklores that emanate from the community. Religion consists of ideals and beliefs about God, values and morality. In most cases, stories, edicts and holy books are used in teaching the adherents a religion which in turn leads to the creation of religious folklore.
Music is one of the most powerful forms of storytelling for it consists of both words and sounds coming from musical instruments. Communities both rural and urban have created folklores out of their legendary figures or musical heroes since the beginning of time. As a folklore genre, music as a form of documenting a culture cannot be overstated and will continue to be used by generations to tell their own stories.
A narrative is the use of the word of mouth or written words to tell stories to an audience. In the early days of humankind, the word of mouth served as the means of creating and transferring folklores through generations, while the use of written words as a medium is a more modern way of narrating stories. These narratives may cover urban legends, folk tales, proverbs and personal experiences which form the bulk of most folklores.
In today’s urban societies, each folklore genre still plays an important role in keeping our cultures alive. As mothers narrate stories to daughters, fathers teach sons to play musical instruments and you download books to your kindle, a culture is being kept alive through folklore.
- Bascom, W. (1965). Four Functions of Folklore. The Journal of American Folklore, 67(226), pp.333-349.
- Giraudon, D. (2007). Supernatural Whirlwinds in the Folklore of Celtic Countries. Béaloideas, pp.1-23.
- Kinahan, F. (1983). Armchair Folklore: Yeats and the Textual Sources of “Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry”. 83C, pp.255-267.
- Dundes, A. (1980). Who Are the Folk? In Interpreting Folklore.
- Dundes, A. (1965). The Study of Folklore, 20, 40-41.
- Bauman, R. (1992) . Folklore, Cultural Performances, and Popular Entertainments: A Communications-centered Handbook, 45