Thursday 16
Session 15: Network Analysis in Humanities
Mari Sarv
› 9:50 - 10:15 (25min)
› J 208
Network analysis and typological classification of folklore texts
Mari Sarv  1@  , Risto Järv  1, *@  
1 : Estonian Literary Museum  (ELM)  -  Website
Vanemuise 42, Tartu -  Estonia
* : Corresponding author

Classification of folklore texts according to their content has been for a long time one of the basic methods in folkloristics. The best known are international folk tale typologies, first compiled by Antti Aarne (1910), then enlarged by Stith Thompson (1928 and 1961), and most lately by Hans-Jörg Uther (2004), but the method has been used to classify the other kinds of folklore texts as well: songs, legends, proverbs, riddles, even the tunes. At the same time, it has been also a cornerstone for historic-geographic research method, which aimed to find out the original form and home as well as later additions for any plot. Although the aims of the historic-geographic method have mostly fallen into oblivion by now, the typologic classification has retained its function as an useful tool in order to get an overview of the large number of records, it enables us to examine the geographical spread of a folkloric type, to observe its variativity which in turn reveals us the characteristics of the folkloric communication. When observing the voluminous folklore collections and archives it is evident that the folklore texts tend to group according to their similarities, and the folkloric types are not a construct of the researchers, but a reality typical to the folkloric communication.

The typological classification in itself is a method to cope with the big data, it would require a reasonable amount of texts to find out what is typical and what is exceptional. Nowadays the typological classifications can be used as a source data for network analysis, combined with other dimensions of folklore texts, e.g their geographical spread, their linguistic properties, their performers. The proposed paper will observe the possibilities network analysis has to offer to folkloristics when combined with classical (or old-fashioned) typological classification.


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