Delimiting Myth: Genre, Disciplinary Boundaries, and Santa Claus

Daniel Peretti (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

The 20th century saw a broadening of the concept of myth to include ideology, seeing myth as an active force in the modern world. Using Santa Claus as a case study, this paper discusses how the broadened and the "traditional" view of myth facilitate different yet complementary understandings of culture. The folkloristic approach to Santa might classify him as a figure of legend, though associated with ritual; the cultural studies perspective sees Santa as the embodiment of capitalism, an advertising icon. These views can be most valuable when reconciled, a process that draws upon the interdisciplinary nature of mythology.

Part of 28-02 Folkloristic Work on Myth: Trends, Developments, and Tricksters, Tuesday, October 19, 8:45 pm–10:15 pm