Accepted paper:

Folk culture, writing and sense of place

Authors:

Susan Eleuterio (Company of Folk)

Paper short abstract:

Folk culture, including a sense of place, both shapes and is shaped by individuals and communities. Folklorists and other ethnographers, through the creative exercise of writing, questioning, discussion and sharing can assist members of cultural communities in examining the role of place.

Paper long abstract:

Folk culture, including a sense of place, both shapes and is shaped by individuals and communities. Folklorists and other ethnographers, through the creative exercise of writing, questioning, discussion and sharing can assist members of cultural communities in examining the role of place. Writing, along with other community arts, plays an important role in describing, and making sense of the physical, social and virtual environments (places) that surround individual and community participants, potentially creating a stronger sense of connection to place. Writing can also be a tool in encouraging individuals and communities to redefine their agency within their environment. Place is increasingly shaped by forces from the outside; gentrification, shifts in the economy, and globalization. Today, a personal sense of place has shifted from the physical to the virtual - you can be "in the same place" as someone on another continent through on-line conferencing and virtual gatherings. For those who exist along the margins of the "digital divide, " place has remained a more traditional concept. Memories of earlier, often more rural places, the impact of those places on belief systems along with personal responses to contemporary changes in place create powerfully written pieces which document how and why place matters. I will explore how folk culture influences the creative and emotional response of writers who participate in a community based writing program in Chicago in shaping and reshaping their place in the world and how cultural workers might examine personal narratives to increase their understanding of community definitions of place.

panel P217
Shaping space through personal narrative