Folkways are traditional modes of behavior that influence interpersonal communication. Put most simply, individuals that do not share common folkways are likely to see each other as strange, while Individuals that do share common folkways are more likely to see each other as connected by a common culture. Folkways are the individual strings, the elements of our identity that, when communicated within society, can either bind us to the surrounding culture, or alienate us from it.
Many of the folkways that have come to define broad cultures – to make, for instance, Americans American and Russians Russian – have evolved over hundreds of years if not millennia. Many others are quite recent. Folkways are as diverse as they are numerous. We identify our cultures by how we communicate, including what language we speak and what specific vocabulary and gestures we use. However, we also identify ourselves by what we eat (and how we cook it), how we treat and educate children, how we treat authority, and by our tastes in clothing and music. Perhaps most fascinatingly, we identify ourselves by elements of culture long since abandoned in daily life but still held up as being traditionally “ours” and celebrated in folklore, holidays, histories, and nostalgia.
localhost/folk will look specifically at the more traditional constructs of various Eurasian cultures and languages and attempt to explain them, in English, for a Western audience. We will be most interested in those elements of identity whose roots can be traced far back into history and whose influence on modern language and culture is the greatest. Our goal in doing so is to make these folkways more accessible and understandable. We hope that more individuals will come to view differing folkways not as a cause for alienation, but for increased cultural curiosity and even increased interpersonal communication as we seek to truly understand those that are different from ourselves.
**note that many differentiate between “folkways” and “mores” (a stronger word that indicates a behavior that results in immediate, strong reprimand or social expulsion). However, where the line between folkways and mores lies is also typically a matter of individual identity. Thus, we will examine elements of culture and may be considered both folkways and mores on this site under the larger, more inclusive term. If this offends your particular folkways, we apologize, and ask you to forgive us in the spirit of localhost/folk.