Paperback / softback
December 14, 2004
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
.95 Pounds (US)
$35.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

Grasping Things

Folk Material Culture and Mass Society in America

America stocks its shelves with mass-produced goods but fills its imagination with handmade folk objects. In Pennsylvania, the "back to the city" housing movement causes a conflict of cultures. In Indiana, an old tradition of butchering turtles for church picnics evokes both pride and loathing among residents. In New York, folk-art exhibits raise choruses of adoration and protest. These are a few of the examples Simon Bronner uses to illustrate the ways Americans physically and mentally grasp things. Bronner moves beyond the usual discussions of form and variety in America's folk material culture to explain historical influences on, and the social consequences of, channeling folk culture into a mass society.

About the Author

Simon J. Bronner is Distinguished University Professor of American Studies and Folklore and director of the Pennsylvania Center for Culture Studies at The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg. He is the editor of the four-volume Encyclopedia of American Folklife, Manly Traditions: The Folk Roots of American Masculinities, Consuming Visions: Accumulation and Display of Goods in America, 1880-1920, and other volumes, and the author of several books, including Folk Nation: Folklore in the Creation of American Tradition, Killing Tradition: Inside Hunting and Animal Rights Controversies, Following Tradition: Folklore in the Discourse of American Culture, and The Carver's Art: Crafting Meaning from Wood.


"An academic with an eye for human drama, Bronner's firsthand observations include memorable snapshots of rural and small-town men and women struggling to preserve an old-fashioned way of life . . . this thoughtful book makes it clear that folk culture still flourishes in the byways of America."—Kirkus Reviews

"This is the stuff of honest folklore, honestly presented. It embraces the best meaning and philosophy of folklore 'collecting' and scholarship, an enjoyable endeavor for readers and writer."—Journal of American History

"This cleverly titled and richly illustrated study of the interplay between folk material culture and the forces of modern mass society reads like a sampler of small moments of resistance to the massive apparatus of contemporary consumer culture."—Winterthur Portfolio

University Press of Kentucky

9780813191423 : grasping-things-bronner
Paperback / softback
272 Pages
$35.00 USD

Other Titles by Simon J. Bronner

Pennsylvania Germans

edited by Simon J. Bronner and Joshua R. Brown
Jan 2017 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$80.00 USD - Hardback
$80.00 USD - Electronic book text

Explaining Traditions

Simon J. Bronner
Jul 2015 - University Press of Kentucky
$70.00 USD - Hardback
$40.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Killing Tradition

Simon J. Bronner
Nov 2008 - University Press of Kentucky
$60.00 USD - Hardback

Other Titles in SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural

Roses from Kenya

Megan A. Styles
Dec 2019 - University of Washington Press
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$95.00 USD - Hardback

Everyday Ethics

Michael Lamb
Nov 2019 - Georgetown University Press
$49.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$149.95 USD - Hardback

The Way of the Barbarians

Shao-yun Yang
Nov 2019 - University of Washington Press
$95.00 USD - Hardback
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback