On Scapegoating Public Folklore
Journal of American Folklore
The call to abandon the word folklore as the name for our discipline has apparently been abandoned itself - rather like the stories in which the villain meets the fate he thought had been prepared for his enemies. The discussion was fruitful, even reinvigorating, and although there were no villain or enemies, there were several heroes. Among those heroes, I would count Dan Ben-Amos, with his fine essay "The Name Is the Thing" (1998). In this essay, Ben-Amos argues logically and poetically for the term folklore as meaningful and central to a field of inquiry. I learned from this essay, but I was completely surprised by the scapegoating of public (or applied) folklore as a major cause of folklore's current academic troubles.
“On Scapegoating Public Folklore.” Journal of American Folklore 113 (2000):86-89.