Virtual Tradition: On the Internet as a Folk System

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:
Virtual Tradition: On the Internet as a Folk System

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This chapter argues that the Internet has not displaced tradition but instead given rise to digital forms of folklore. A user-oriented folk Web may be said to active, especially among youth, that is often framed to subvert or counter a corporate, official Internet. To analyze this folk Web, the chapter suggests a revision of the “analog” or relational definition of folklore in favour of a “digital” or analytical concept focusing on the variable repetition of practices. A comparison is given of folkloric transmission in analog and digital conduits with the lore of Budd Dwyer who committed suicide in 1987. In this example and folk speech evident in cyberculture, the implication is that the practice of the folk Web is comparable to latrinalia, which suggests a projection of naturalistic feces play in response to the anxiety of being controlled by a corporate, official technology.

Keywords: digital culture; cyberculture; technology; Internet; Budd Dwyer; folk speech; scatology; psychoanalytic approach; suicide; folkloristics

Chapter.  20558 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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