Sunday, December 16, 2007

Metal Folk Culture

The following citation, from a 1953 issue of American Anthropologist, reminded me strongly of the Sunn 0))) phenomenon - though it also would do nicely on Transpontine's excellent "History Is Made At Night" blog:

"The symbiotic relationship between folk (i.e., "peasant" (...)) and non-folk (i.e. "gentry") here postulated as the key concept of folk culture implies that the direction of culture flow is not alone outward and downward, from city to country and from upper to lower classes. Rather, we are facing a circular phenomenon in which folk culture draws on and is continually replenished by contact with the products of intellectual and scientific strata, but in which folk culture continually, though perhaps in a lesser degree, contributes to these non-folk societies.

The dance is illustrative of this process. In the 17th and 18th centuries the Western European dance masters introduced folk dances to social dancing, adapting them to the needs of the courts. English country square dances played a role in the development of the French
quadrille, which was then introduced back into London. These folk dances then became the forms around which composers, then and now, created important works. Folk dances, now become court dances, spread from Spain and France to Latin America, and the process began anew whereby little by little they became the property of the folk. The current American rage for square dancing also reflects this process: after a suitable time the folk entertainment of yesteryear becomes the pastime of the artistic avant-garde".

G.F. Foster, "What is folk culture?" American Anthropologist, Vol. 55, No. 2, 1953, pp. 159-173; quoted in Clifford Geertz "The Religion Of Java" (The University Of Chicago Press, 1960).

PS: I bought the shirt!

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