Informant disavowal and the interpretation of storytelling revival
AffiliationUniversity of Sheffield
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AbstractThe scholarship of traditional arts revivals is often ironic. Revivalists’ activity has been understood as a rational, politically nostalgic, and symbolic re-enactment of a fictional past. In this, scholars have underestimated the significance of disavowal; that is, informants’ neutral or negative responses to analytical methods and conclusions. Interviews with English storytelling revivalists reveal a coherent and significant consensus of disavowal, showing their primary concern to be not with nostalgic self-rationalisation, but with basic practical issues of artistic and sociable interaction. Storytelling revival involves nostalgic displays that are actually fragmentary, superficial, and subordinate to practical concerns. This suggests that revivalists are seeking not to symbolise an imagined past for political purposes, but to familiarise recently appropriated performance genres for artistic purposes. This conclusion is hypothetically applicable to the uses of nostalgic rationalisation within other revival movements.
CitationHeywood, S. (2004). 'Informant Disavowal and the Interpretation of Storytelling Revival'. Folklore 115, pp. 45-63.
PublisherTaylor and Francis
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