• Elguja Makaradze Doctor of Philology, Associated Professor at Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, Batumi, Rustaveli/Ninoshvili St. # 32/35, postal index: 6010


The understanding of context has existed since ancient times, and its content has changed in the wake of historical epochs. The actualization of the term is related to the famous anthropologist B. Malinowski, in his famous work “The Problem of Significance in Primitive Languages”, singled out two types of context: situational context and cultural context.

Among the folklorists who first paid attention Malinowski's idea was coined by the American scientist William Bescom, though it later emerged as the leader of the contextual school D. Ben-Amos. His work "Defining Folklore in Context" became a kind of manifesto of conceptualists and led to a real "contextual revolution" in American folklore (Stiven Jones). According to Ben-Amos, in its cultural context, folklore is not a set of subjects, but a communicative process, not the texts of a fairy tale or song stored in archives or published in various collections, but the narration of a fairy tale and the performance of a song. Consequently,  considered secondary "social context" or "situational context" was declared the main subject of study of folklore by Ben-Amos and his followers. Clearly, such an approach was considered useless not only by the work done by many generations of collectors, but also by the science of folklore itself, which relied on recorded texts. Contextualist ideas, on the other hand, despite their radicalism, have played a major role in overcoming the "literary centrism" that prevails in traditional folklore, drawing a sharp line between literary and folklore texts.

Like the American contextualists, they are not distinguished by radicalism, but the followers of another method or school of folklore research, "experimental folklore", folklore as a study of performance, and structural-semiological method, recognize the great importance of contextual research.

Collective and research practice in Georgian folklore precedes theoretical reflections on the concept of context. Moreover, the term is rarely used here, and is replaced by the terms "ethnographic connections" and "performing environment".

How to Cite
MAKARADZE, Elguja. THE NOTION OF CONTEXT IN FOLKLORE. PHILOLOGICAL RESEARCHES, [S.l.], n. III, p. 120-129, dec. 2021. ISSN 2667-9612. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 may 2022.