Author Information

Emily Kearns


When considering what falls into the remarkably broad discipline that is folklore, some of the first images that come to mind are peasants and farmers performing folk dances, passing down folktales, and engaging in age-old rituals and ceremonies. I certainly never would have considered car modification to fall under the folkloric umbrella – after all, it seems far too modern, and we often have the misconception that folklore is concerned exclusively with the lower-class workers of the distant past. However, after looking closely at some of the more modern interpretations and definitions of folklore (of which there are many), it becomes clear that car modification – and even car repairs, to a certain extent – more than qualify as facets of this overarching genre. Folklore is divided up into three major sections: material, verbal, and customary lore (Wilson 1986, 229). Material lore has to do with folk objects and tangible items, verbal lore is relayed orally, and customary lore refers to rituals or practices. Car modification, the focus of this paper, is considered a type of material folklore since it deals most primarily with folk objects and how their owners interact with them.

Note on the Author

Emily Kearns is a Sophomore majoring in Early Childhood Education and English. She wrote this paper in the fall of 2012 as part of her coursework for an Introduction to Folklore class taught by Yasar Ozan Say.

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