The ISFNR Belief Narrative Network Online Lectures deal with folk beliefs of all kinds, and the narratives that are used to pass them on. The idea is that in the first week of each month, various international scholars present pre-recorded lectures on the subject of their choice which will later go on to be freely available on the ISFNR web site to anyone who wishes to make use of them as part of their research or in their teaching. The initial on-line showing is nonetheless always followed by a half an hour live on-line zoom meeting in which those who attend will be able to ask the speaker questions.
The lectures take place on the first Friday of each month at 17.00 Central European time, except during the summer months of July and August.
"Mind Viruses: How Folklore Research Can Benefit From Memetics"
June 03, 2022. at 5 p.m. CEST
The lecture deals with the problem of semantic and syntagmatic stability of narrative plots considered to be one of the central problems of folklore research. Influential theories of folklore in the 20th century have not provided us with any clear and consistent solution of it. New perspectives for understanding of these processes could be discussed in the context of the ‘meme theory’. In the perspective of memetic approach, viability of tale types is determined by their ‘cognitive adaptability’ and social relevance rather than stable semantics or ‘historical roots’. Examples from present day popular culture including dissemination of so called ‘happiness cakes’ allow even discussing particular symbiosis of memes and biological entities. The lecture considers elaboration of memetic approach to culture in relation to the actor-network theory, anthropology of emotions, and cognitive science.