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Folklore and Folklorism in Kazakhstan

Gulnar Kendirbaeva
Asian Folklore Studies
Vol. 53, No. 1 (1994), pp. 97-123
Published by: Nanzan University
DOI: 10.2307/1178561
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1178561
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Folklore and Folklorism in Kazakhstan
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Abstract

In the sphere of traditional Kazakh folk art we can identify the following sub-spheres: a) the oral tradition itself, i. e., the traditional musical and poetical art of the Kazakhs; b) folklorism "from above," i. e., ideological (political) folklorism; c) folklorism "from below," i. e., that which appears in both city and village under the influence of folk art (pop music, "amateur talent activities," professional art, ideological folklorism, and "scientific folklorism," etc.); d) "scientific folklorism," i. e., authentic folklore that is consciously studied, reproduced, and popularized by specialists and amateurs in order to better understand and preserve it. Analysis of the modern situation of Kazakh musical folk art shows the leading role of Kazakh traditional musical and poetical art. There are two reasons for this: a) the high professionalism of the Kazakh oral tradition, developed over the course of centuries; b) the relatively late appearance of urbanization in Kazakhstan, and its confinement to a relatively small portion of the native population. Under the present conditions of growing urbanization, falling numbers of folklore bearers, shrinking spheres of traditional folklore, and the negative influence of ideological folklorism, "scientific folklorism" may be the only way to preserve and understand authentic folklore. Scientific folklorism also plays the important role of encouraging the modern development of the folklore itself.

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