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Towards Wider Framings: World-Systems Analysis and Folklore Studies


This article* situates folklore studies in relation to the approach to social research known as world-systems analysis. In doing so, the work also serves as an evocation of world-systems analysis of potential usefulness for the practice of folklore research and for further thinking about the articulation of the field with others in the human or social sciences. Even if folklorists choose not to embrace a world-systems framework, it is valuable to position folklore studies within the matrix of social science disciplines that this perspective sees as important to the rise of the modern capitalist world-system. This positioning relates to interpretations of world history, but also to debates about the future status of the disciplines. While world-systems analysis is only one among several approaches to exploring the human experience in broad greater-than-local contexts, it offers a useful instance for a larger effort to work out more far-reaching modes of work in folkloristics.