Materiality, Verbal Art, Mythic Knowledge and the Lived Environment (ASME) explores relationships between materialities, traditions of intangible culture and the lived environment, examined in Finno-Karelian and Scandinavian premodern traditions up through their heritagization and reinventions today. We focus on perceived and imagined materialities rather than only the empirically verifiable, revealing understandings of poems and knowledge as things that people could own or lose or even mix with beer. Our work shows verbal art and knowledge to be in ongoing dialectic with materialities as encountered and experienced. We theorize how this dialectic between materialities, intangible culture and the lived environment transform over time while their social significance is constructed through the dialectic itself.
We break from current paradigms of thinking about materialities and oral traditions. We liberate materialities from science-based epistemologies and pioneer a culture-based reconceptualization viewed through perceived and imagined realities of lived environments. Recognizing emic materialities demands looking at oral traditions in a new light, and re-evaluating the borders and center of folklore studies as a discipline that has historically reduced these to abstract text and beliefs.