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Invented custom – Wikipedia

Invented custom – Wikipedia

2023-09-03 17:37:43

Just lately invented cultural practices perceived as previous

“Historic” Scottish clan tartans are an instance of an invented custom created within the nineteenth century.

Invented traditions are cultural practices which are introduced or perceived as conventional, arising from the folks beginning within the distant previous, however which actually are comparatively latest and infrequently even consciously invented by identifiable historic actors. The idea was highlighted within the 1983 ebook The Invention of Custom, edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger.[1] Hobsbawm’s introduction argues that many “traditions” which “seem or declare to be previous are sometimes fairly latest in origin and typically invented.”[2] This “invention” is distinguished from “beginning” or “initiating” a practice that doesn’t then declare to be previous. The phenomenon is especially clear within the fashionable growth of the nation and of nationalism, making a nationwide id selling nationwide unity, and legitimising sure establishments or cultural practices.[3]

Utility of the time period and paradox[edit]

The idea has been utilized to cultural phenomena such because the “Highland myth” in Scotland,[4][5] the traditions of major religions,[6][7] some Korean martial arts similar to Taekwondo,[8] and a few Japanese martial arts, similar to Judo.[9]  It has influenced associated ideas similar to Benedict Anderson‘s imagined communities and the pizza effect.[10]

Certainly, the sharp distinction between “custom” and “modernity” is commonly itself invented. The idea is “extremely related to that comparatively latest historic innovation, the ‘nation’, with its related phenomena: nationalism, the nation-state, nationwide symbols, histories, and the remaining.” Hobsbawm and Ranger comment on the “curious however comprehensible paradox: fashionable nations and all their impedimenta usually declare to be the other of novel, particularly rooted in remotest antiquity, and the other of constructed, particularly human communities so ‘pure’ as to require no definition apart from self-assertion.”[11] The idea of authenticity can also be usually questionable.


Pseudo-folklore or fakelore is inauthentic, manufactured folklore introduced as if it have been genuinely conventional. The time period can confer with new tales or songs made up, or to folklore that’s reworked and modified for contemporary tastes. The component of misrepresentation is central; artists who draw on conventional tales of their work should not producing fakelore except they declare that their creations are actual folklore.[12] During the last a number of many years the time period has usually fallen out of favor in folklore studies as a result of it locations an emphasis on origin as an alternative of ongoing apply to find out authenticity.

The time period fakelore was coined in 1950 by American folklorist Richard M. Dorson[12] in his article “Folklore and Faux Lore” printed in The American Mercury. Dorson’s examples included the fictional cowboy Pecos Bill, who was introduced as a folks hero of the American West however was truly invented by the author Edward S. O’Reilly in 1923. Dorson additionally regarded Paul Bunyan as fakelore. Though Bunyan originated as a personality in conventional tales advised by loggers within the Great Lakes area of North America, William B. Laughead (1882–1958), an advert author working for the Purple River Lumber Firm, invented most of the tales about him which are identified right this moment. In accordance with Dorson, advertisers and popularizers turned Bunyan right into a “pseudo folks hero of twentieth-century mass tradition” who bore little resemblance to the unique.[13]

Folklorismus additionally refers back to the invention or adaptation of folklore. Not like fakelore, nevertheless, folklorismus is just not essentially deceptive; it contains any use of a practice exterior the cultural context wherein it was created. The time period was first used within the early Sixties by German students, who have been primarily desirous about using folklore by the tourism industry. Nevertheless, skilled artwork based mostly on folklore, TV commercials with fairy tale characters, and even educational research of folklore are all types of folklorism.[14][15]

Connection to folklore[edit]

The time period fakelore is commonly utilized by those that search to show or debunk fashionable reworkings of folklore, together with Dorson himself, who spoke of a “battle towards fakelore”.[16] Dorson complained that popularizers had sentimentalized folklore, stereotyping the individuals who created it as quaint and kooky[12] – whereas the actual factor was usually “repetitive, clumsy, meaningless and obscene”.[17] He contrasted the real Paul Bunyan tales, which had been so filled with technical logging phrases that outsiders would discover components of them obscure, with the commercialized variations, which sounded extra like youngsters’s books. The unique Paul Bunyan had been shrewd and typically ignoble; one story advised how he cheated his males out of their pay. Mass culture supplied a sanitized Bunyan with a “spirit of gargantuan whimsy [that] displays no precise temper of lumberjacks”.[13] Daniel G. Hoffman mentioned that Bunyan, a folk hero, had been was a mouthpiece for capitalists: “That is an instance of the best way wherein a standard image has been used to control the minds of people that had nothing to do with its creation.”[18]

Others have argued that professionally created artwork and folklore are consistently influencing one another and that this mutual affect ought to be studied relatively than condemned.[19] For instance, Jon Olson, a professor of anthropology, reported that whereas rising up he heard Paul Bunyan tales that had originated as lumber firm promoting.[20] Dorson had seen the impact of print sources on orally transmitted Paul Bunyan tales as a type of cross-contamination that “hopelessly muddied the lore”.[13] For Olson, nevertheless, “the purpose is that I personally was uncovered to Paul Bunyan within the style of a dwelling oral custom, not of lumberjacks (of which there are treasured few remaining), however of the current folks of the realm.”[20] What was fakelore had change into folklore once more.

Responding to his opponents’ argument that the writers have the identical declare as the unique folks storytellers, Dorson writes that the distinction quantities to the distinction between conventional tradition and mass culture.[12]

See Also


One reviewer (Peter Burke) famous that the ‘invention of custom’ is a wonderfully subversive phrase”, but it surely “hides severe ambiguities”. Hobsbawm “contrasts invented traditions with what he calls ‘the power and flexibility of real traditions’. However the place does his ‘adaptability’, or his colleague Ranger’s ‘flexibility’ finish, and invention start? Given that every one traditions change, is it doable or helpful to try to discriminate the ‘real’ antiques from the fakes?”[21] One other additionally praised the top quality of the articles however had {qualifications}. “Such distinctions” (between invented and genuine traditions) “resolve themselves finally into one between the real and the spurious, a distinction that could be untenable as a result of all traditions (like all symbolic phenomena) are humanly created (‘spurious’) relatively than naturally given (‘real’).”[22] Stating that “invention entails assemblage, supplementation, and rearrangement of cultural practices in order that in impact traditions will be preserved, invented, and reconstructed”, Guy Beiner proposed {that a} extra correct time period could be “reinvention of custom”, signifying “a artistic course of involving renewal, reinterpretation and revision”.[23]

Examples of American fakelore[edit]

Along with Paul Bunyan and Pecos Invoice, Dorson recognized the American folks hero Joe Magarac as fakelore.[13] Magarac, a fictional steelworker, first appeared in 1931 in a Scribner’s Magazine story by the author Owen Francis. He was a literal man of metal who made rails from molten metallic along with his naked arms; he refused a possibility to marry to dedicate himself to working 24 hours a day, labored so laborious that the mill needed to shut down, and eventually, in despair at enforced idleness, melted himself down within the mill’s furnace to enhance the standard of the metal. Francis mentioned he heard this story from Croatian immigrant steelworkers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; he reported that they advised him the phrase magarac was a praise, then laughed and talked to one another in their very own language, which he didn’t communicate. The phrase truly means “donkey” in Croatian, and is an insult. Since no hint of the existence of Joe Magarac tales previous to 1931 has been found, Francis’s informants might have made the character up as a joke on him. In 1998, Gilley and Burnett reported “solely tentative indicators that the Magarac story has actually made a substantive transformation from ‘fake-‘ into ‘folklore“, however famous his significance as an area cultural icon.[24]

Different American folks heroes which were referred to as fakelore embody Old Stormalong, Febold Feboldson,[13] Big Mose, Tony Beaver, Bowleg Bill, Whiskey Jack, Annie Christmas, Cordwood Pete, Antonine Barada, and Kemp Morgan.[25] Marshall Fishwick describes these largely literary figures as imitations of Paul Bunyan.[26] Moreover, scholar Michael I. Niman describes the Legend of the Rainbow Warriors – a perception {that a} “new tribe” will inherit the methods of the Native People and save the planet – for example of fakelore.[27]

See additionally[edit]


  1. ^ Hobsbawm, Eric; Ranger, Terence, eds. (1983). The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge College Press. ISBN 978-0521246453.
  2. ^ Hobsbawm & Ranger (1983), p. 1.
  3. ^ The articles within the quantity embody Hugh Trevor-Roper’s “The invention of custom: the Highland custom of Scotland,” Prys Morgan’s “From a loss of life to a view: the hunt for the Welsh previous within the romantic interval,” David Cannadine’s “The context, efficiency, and that means of formality: the British monarchy and the ‘invention of custom’, c. 1820-1977,” Bernard S. Cohen’s “Representing authority in Victorian India,” Terence Ranger’s “The invention of custom in colonial Africa,” and Eric Hobsbawm’s “Mass-producing traditions: Europe, 1870-1914.”
  4. ^ Sievers, Marco (2007–2010). The Highland Myth as an Invented Tradition of 18th and 19th Century and Its Significance for the Image of Scotland. GRIN Verlag. ISBN 978-3-638-81651-9.
  5. ^ Hutton, Ronald (3 November 2008). “Fashionable Pagan Festivals: A Examine within the Nature of Custom”. Folklore. Taylor Francis. 119 (3): 251–273. doi:10.1080/00155870802352178. S2CID 145003549.
  6. ^ Masuzawa, Tomoko (2005). The Invention of World Religions. Chicago University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-50989-1.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location lacking writer (link)
  7. ^ Nur Masalha (2007). The Bible and Zionism: Invented Traditions, Archaeology and Put up-Colonialism in Palestine-Israel. London; New York: Zed Books. LCCN 2006-31826. ISBN 978-1-84277-761-9.
  8. ^ Moenig, Udo; Kim, Minho (2016). “The Invention of Taekwondo Tradition, 1945–1972: When Mythology becomes ‘History’. Acta Koreana. 19 (2): 131–164. ISSN 2733-5348.
  9. ^ Inoue Shun, “The Invention of the Martial Arts: Kanō Jigorō and Kōdōkan Judo”, pp. 163-173 in Stephen Vlastos (ed.).

    Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Fashionable Japan. Berkeley: College of California Press, 1998.

  10. ^ Anderson, Benedict. “The origins of nationwide consciousness”. Nationalism: Important Ideas in Political Science 1 (2000): 316, p. 37.
  11. ^ Hobsbawm & Terence Ranger (1983), p. 13-14.
  12. ^ a b c d Dorson, Richard M. (1977). American Folklore. Chicago: College of Chicago Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-226-15859-4.
  13. ^ a b c d e Dorson (1977), 214–226.
  14. ^ Newall, Venetia J. (1987). “The Adaptation of Folklore and Custom (Folklorismus)”. Folklore. 98 (2): 131–151. doi:10.1080/0015587x.1987.9716408. JSTOR 1259975.
  15. ^ Kendirbaeva, Gulnar (1994). “Folklore and Folklorism in Kazakhstan”. Asian Folklore Research. 53 (1): 97–123. doi:10.2307/1178561. JSTOR 1178561.
  16. ^ Dorson, Richard M. (1973). “Is Folklore a Self-discipline?”. Folklore. 84 (3): 177–205. doi:10.1080/0015587x.1973.9716514. JSTOR 1259723.
  17. ^ Dorson, Richard M. (1963). “Present Folklore Theories”. Present Anthropology. 4 (1): 101. doi:10.1086/200339. JSTOR 2739820. S2CID 143464386.
  18. ^ Ball, John; George Herzog; Thelma James; Louis C. Jones; Melville J. Herskovits; Wm. Hugh Jansen; Richard M. Dorson; Alvin W. Wolfe; Daniel G. Hoffman (1959). “Dialogue from the Ground”. Journal of American Folklore. 72 (285): 233–241. doi:10.2307/538134. JSTOR 538134.
  19. ^ Olson, Jon (1976). “Movie Critiques”. Western Folklore. 35 (3): 233–237. doi:10.2307/1498351. JSTOR 1498351. In accordance with Newall, 133, the German folklorist Hermann Bausinger expressed an analogous view.
  20. ^ a b Olson, 235.
  21. ^ Burke, Peter (1986). “Review of The Invention of Tradition”. The English Historic Evaluate. 101 (398): 316–317. ISSN 0013-8266. JSTOR 571469.
  22. ^ Handler, Richard (1984). “Review of The Invention of Tradition”. American Anthropologist. 86 (4): 1025–1026. doi:10.1525/aa.1984.86.4.02a00380. ISSN 0002-7294. JSTOR 679222.
  23. ^ Beiner, Man (2007). Remembering the Year of the French Irish Folk History and Social Memory. Madison, Wisconsin: College of Wisconsin Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0-299-21824-9.
  24. ^ Gilley, Jennifer; Stephen Burnett (November 1998). “Deconstructing and Reconstructing Pittsburgh’s Man of Metal: Studying Joe Magarac towards the Context of the Twentieth-Century Metal Trade”. The Journal of American Folklore. 111 (442): 392–408. doi:10.2307/541047. JSTOR 541047.
  25. ^ American Folklore: An Encyclopedia, ed. Jan Harold Brunvand, Taylor & Francis, 1996, p. 1105
  26. ^ Fishwick, Marshall W. (1959). “Sons of Paul: Folklore or Fakelore?”. Western Folklore. 18 (4): 277–286. doi:10.2307/1497745. JSTOR 1497745.
  27. ^ Niman, Michael I. 1997. Folks of the Rainbow: A Nomadic Utopia, pp. 131-148. University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 0-87049-988-2

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