University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Folklore Fallacy: A Folkloristic/Filmic Perspective on The Wicker Man

Koven, Mikel ORCID: (2007) The Folklore Fallacy: A Folkloristic/Filmic Perspective on The Wicker Man. Fabula, 48 (3-4). pp. 270-280. ISSN Print: 0014-6242 Online: 1613-0464

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The Folklore Fallacy examines the relationship between folklore and popular culture, locating this discourse in reference to Robin Hardy and Anthony Shaffer's film of 1973, The Wicker Man, and its depiction of a Celtic Paganism that has been revived on a remote Scottish island. Whilst both Hardy and Shaffer claim that the film strives for anthropological verisimilitude, this essay demonstrates how such an allegation becomes questionable because the film is actually a literal reconstruction of an imaginary Pagan past that is based, somewhat naively and uncritically, upon the descriptions of such rituals in Sir James George Frazer's Golden Bough. Because Frazer's project possesses its own flaws in its endeavours to homogenize the significance of the rituals of other cultures in relation to its own, it relies upon an imposition of meaning that is fraught with a hegemonic and colonial bias. The film, in accurately reproducing Frazer's vision of Celtic Paganism, also replicates Frazer's ideological partiality, qualifying as a problematic misrepresentation of the folkloristic perspective as an example of what is termed as ‘the folklore fallacy’. Furthermore, the essay argues that the film, because of this fallacy, can be seen as a continuation of the legend of the Wicker Man and itself becomes a document entangled within a significant folkloristic nexus.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: folklore, popular culture, Wicker Man, films
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GR Folklore
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
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Depositing User: Mikel Koven
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2011 10:24
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 16:55

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