Becoming anon: Hamish Henderson, community and the 'Folk Process'

Gibson, C. (2016) Becoming anon: Hamish Henderson, community and the 'Folk Process'. In: Lyall, S. (ed.) Community in Modern Scottish Literature. Brill, pp. 103-123. ISBN 9789004317444 (doi:10.1163/9789004317451_007)

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Hamish Henderson (1919– 2002) was a celebrated songwriter, war poet, political activist, folklorist, and perhaps the most visible campaigner on behalf of the modern folk revival in Scotland. Henderson developed a theory of the ‘folk process’ by which contemporary singers, poets, and even audiences and readers, are absorbed into a vast anonymous community of ‘tradition-bearers’. This proposal presents obvious problems for conventional notions of community based on national, local, historical, political or ideological paradigms, as it transcends the boundaries that we rely on to distinguish a given ‘community’ and extends, even beyond death, to encompass all of human history. This chapter will describe the formulation of this notion of the ‘folk process’ through the ‘discovery’ of the folk culture of the travelling people, and through Henderson’s use of Anon as an idealised descriptor for the sphere from which the ‘folk process’ springs.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gibson, Dr Corey
Authors: Gibson, C.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
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