Abstract and Keywords
The study of traditional buildings, constructions, and cultural landscapes is part of what folklorists refer to as “material culture.” In addition to recording the folklore of various structures, folklorists analyze buildings inside and outside as complex expressive texts examined for their form, construction, use, and decoration. Analysis of form has usually been a primary concern for comparative study of region, ethnicity, and space, and behavioral aspects in and around buildings have gained attention for studies of everyday life and cognition that generate the enclosures people build—including dwellings for animals, vegetation, and the deceased as part of cultural landscapes. Using different terms such as “folk housing” and “vernacular architecture” for constructed dwellings, folklorists examine buildings and constructions, and their surroundings, such as lawns, fences, and planted trees, in continuous development and change. This view is apparent in the different research goals using structural and behavioral evidence of buildings, constructions, and cultural landscapes to determine (1) regional boundaries and ideas of space, (2) community and individual affiliation with architectural styles and building techniques, and (3) identification of cognitive process and symbolism of American building forms.
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