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Haunting Experiences: Ghosts in Contemporary Folklore

by Diane E. Goldstein Sylvia Ann Grider Jeannie Banks Thomas

Ghosts and other supernatural phenomena are widely represented throughout modern culture. They can be found in any number of entertainment, commercial, and other contexts, but popular media or commodified representations of ghosts can be quite different from the beliefs people hold about them, based on tradition or direct experience. Personal belief and cultural tradition on the one hand, and popular and commercial representation on the other, nevertheless continually feed each other. They frequently share space in how people think about the supernatural. InHaunting Experiences,three well-known folklorists seek to broaden the discussion of ghost lore by examining it from a variety of angles in various modern contexts. Diane E. Goldstein, Sylvia Ann Grider, and Jeannie Banks Thomas take ghosts seriously, as they draw on contemporary scholarship that emphasizes both the basis of belief in experience (rather than mere fantasy) and the usefulness of ghost stories. They look closely at the narrative role of such lore in matters such as socialization and gender. And they unravel the complex mix of mass media, commodification, and popular culture that today puts old spirits into new contexts.

The Stigmatized Vernacular: Where Reflexivity Meets Untellability

by Diane E. Goldstein Amy Shuman

As part of this multilayered conversation about stigma, this volume discusses the relationship between the stigmatized individual and our role as researchers. Here we address our own perspectives as researchers struggling with stigma issues and tellability, as well as scholarly reflexive concerns dealing with what can't be said when working with stigmatized groups or topics. The disciplinary focus of folklore positions us well to concentrate on the vernacular experience of the stigmatized, but it also propels us toward analysis of the performance of stigma, the process of stigmatization, and the political representation of stigmatized populations. These perspectives come to the fore in this book, as does the multilayered nature of stigma--its ability to reproduce, overlap, and spread, not just in terms of replication but also in terms of the ethnographer's ability to apprehend it and her ability to research and write about it.

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