The first book of its kind,Putting Folklore to Useprovides guidance to folklorists but also informs practitioners in other fields about how to use folklore studies to augment their own studies. How can acting like a folklore fieldworker help a teacher reduce inter-group stereotyping and increase student's self-esteem? How can adopting a folklore fieldworker's point of view when interviewing patients help practitioners render health care more effectively? How can using folklore research help rural communities survive and thrive?
Thirteen folklorists provide answers to these and other questions and demonstrate the many ways folklore can be put to use. Their essays, commissioned for this volume and edited by Michael Owen Jones, apply the methods and insights of modern folklore research to thirteen different professions and areas of practical concern. The authors, all of whom have themselves put folklore to use in the fields they describe, consider applications in detail and explain how folkloristic concepts and techniques can enhance the work of various professions. They explore applications in such areas as museums, aiding the homeless, environmental planning, art therapy, designing public spaces, organization development, tourism, the public sector, aging, and creating an occupation's image.
In an extensive introduction to the volume, Jones provides an overview of applied folkloristics that defines the field, surveys its history in the United States, and scrutinizes its basic issues and premises. Part I of the book shows how to promote learning, problem solving, and cultural conservation through folklore and its study. Part II deals with folklorists helping to improve the quality of life. Part III reveals folklore's role in enhancing identity and community.
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