Chapter

Adapting Tradition: On Folklore in Human Development

Simon J. Bronner

in Explaining Traditions

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780813134062
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813135885 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813134062.003.0006
Adapting Tradition: On Folklore in Human Development

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Despite predictions that electronic entertainment would displace children's folklore, rhymes, taunts, jokes, and games can still be heard when children gather, and these forms are imaginatively adapted to new circumstances. This chapter argues that a reason for this persistence is the distinctive developmental function provided by folklore enacted in play frames, especially in the pre-pubertal middle childhood years. The chapter observes that although psychologically characterized as a period of sexual latency, middle childhood in America should be recognized for its context of active expression of folklore regarding anxieties about gender, sexual, and social development.

Keywords: childhood; human development; gender roles; sexuality; rhymes; jokes; games

Chapter.  20554 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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