Transmission of Culture in the Digital Age

Transmission of Culture in the Digital Age - Transmission...

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Transmission of Culture in the Digital Age Jane Yolen, a fantasy writer and anthologist of fairy tales, states that “myth and legend and folklore can serve four very basic functions in the education of Everychild” (15). The first that she lists is “to provide a landscape of allusion” (15), the second, to provide “a knowledge of ancestral cultures” (17), the third, citing Bruno Bettelheim, is that “myth becomes a marvelously adaptable tool of therapy” (17), and the “fourth function of myth and fantasy. ..is much subtler and much more important. The great archetypal stories provide a framework or model for an individual’s belief system” (18). However, myth, legend, and folklore have been traditionally communicated through oral storytelling and, in more recent centuries, through reading these narratives, either silently to oneself or aloud to others. What is likely to happen to the transmission of culture, of the “knowledge of ancestral cultures” that Yolen mentions, as well as the passing on of a culture’s values and worldview, if the oral and literate media through which these elements have been transmitted are increasingly marginalized to the point where they all but disappear from mainstream culture? Both television and, more recently, the Internet have been singled out for blame in the decrease of reading among younger generations. In their 2005 study, Griswold et al. summarize research on reading and state, “[o]verall reading time declines with age, and this decline is entirely due to a drop in reading books” (130) and, again, “[a]larming reports suggest. ..that reading may be in decline” (131). Summing up other surveys, Griswold et al. point to the fact that an “inverse relationship between reading and television has been a constant finding since the
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2011 for the course ENGL 102 taught by Professor ??? during the Spring '05 term at Drexel.

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Transmission of Culture in the Digital Age - Transmission...

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