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Development Folklife: Human Security and Cultural Conservation

Kelly Feltault
The Journal of American Folklore
Vol. 119, No. 471, Working for and with the Folk: Public Folklore in the Twenty-First Century (Winter, 2006), pp. 90-110
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4137785
Page Count: 21
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Development Folklife: Human Security and Cultural Conservation
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Abstract

Addressing the potential for development folklife as a subfield within the discipline offolklore, this article argues that folklorists need to expand not only their development work outside arts agencies, but also their definition of development. Analyzing cultural tourism as the dominant development model used byfolklorists, this article locates it within export-oriented economic growth strategies that do not challenge the dominant, neoliberal discourse of development as economic growth. The transformation of culture into a value-added commodity for preservation happens when folklore-based cultural tourism projects ignore the intersection of traditional culture with public policy, human rights, environmental management, global capitalist economics, and the human and livelihood security issues produced. In this way, folklorists' tourism efforts support capturing cultural resources for state-defined economic growth strategies and the historical separation of culture from development. The article introduces a rights-based or human security-based development paradigm that allows folklorists to collaborate with communities to improve their capacity to address political, economic, environmental, and other changes that affect the sustainability of their cultures.

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