Strategic Uses of Belief Narratives




legends, strategic use of folklore, witchcraft, ghosts


Based on the fieldwork, the author discusses belief narratives from the perspective of their strategic use by individuals in everyday communication. When it serves them, the narrators can intentionally draw upon them, and mobilize them to their own benefit, to turn a situation to their profit, to save face, mask their deviant behaviour, conceal embarrassment and scandal, enhance their own prestige and reputation and lower that of a rival or a person with who they are in tense relationship.


Download data is not yet available.


Argyrou, Vassos, 1993: Under a spell: The strategic use of magic in Greek Cypriot society. American Ethnologist, 20 (2), 256–271.

Barry, David in Michael, Elmes 1997: Strategy Retold: Toward a Narrative View of Strategic Discourse. The Academy of Management Review 22 (2, April), 429–452.

Bascom, William R., 1965 [1954]: Four Functions of Folklore. V: Alan Dundes (ur.), The Study of Folklore. USA: Prentice Hall, 279–298.

Bird, Elizabeth S., 2002: It makes sense to us. Cultural Identity in Local Legends of Place. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 31 (5), 519–547.

Bleek, Wolf, 1976: Witchcraft, gossip and death: A social drama. Man, 11 (4), 526–541.

Bourdieu, Pierre, 2002: Praktični čut. Ljubljana: Studia Humanitatis.

Brenneis, Donald, 1987: Talk and Transformation. Man 22 (3, Sept.), 499–510.

de Certeau, Michel, 1988 [1984]: The practice of everyday life. Berkeley/Los Angeles/ London: University of California Press.

Dégh, Linda, 2001: Legend and Belief. Dialectics of a Folklore Genre. Bloomington / Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Dégh, Linda, 1984: Uses of Folklore as Expressions of Identity by Hungarians in the Old and New Country, Journal of Folklore Research 21(2–3), 187–200.

Devlin, Judith, 1987: The Superstitious Mind, French Peasants and the Supernatural in the Nineteenth Century. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Ellis, Bill, 1988: The Fast-Food Ghost: A Study in the Supernatural’s Capacity to Survive Secularisation. V: Gillian Bennett, Paul Smith (ur.), Monsters with Iron Teeth. Perspectives on Contemporary Legend III. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 37–77.

Fine, Gary Allan, 1985: Social change and folklore. The interpretation of social structure and culture. Arv. Nordic Yearbook of Folklore 41, 7–15.

Gijswijt-Hofstra, Marijke 1999: Witchcraft after the Witch-trials. V: Bengt Ankarloo, Stuart Clark (ur.), Witchcraft and Magic in Europe. The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. The Athlone History of Witchcraft and Magic in Europe Vol. 6. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 95–189.

Goldstein Diane, Sylvia Ann, Gryder, Jeannie, Banks Thomas, (ur.) 2007: Haunting experiences. Ghosts in contemporary folklore. Logan, Utah: Utah State University.

Gunnell, Terry, 2008: Introduction. V: Terry Gunnell (ur.), Legends and Landscape. Articles Based on Plenary Papers Presented at the 5th Celtic-Nordic-Baltic Folklore Symposium, Reykjavík. Reykjavík: University of Iceland Press, 13–24.

Gustavsson, Anders, 1979: Folklore in community conflicts. Gossip in a Fishing Community. ARV: Scandinavian Yearbook of Folklore 35, 49–85.

Hesz, Ágnes, 2007: The Making of a Bewitchment Narrative. Electronic journal of Folklore 37, 19–34.

Hesz, Ágnes, 2012: Dead in dreams. V: William A., Christian Jr. in Gábor Klaniczay (ur.), The »Vision Thing«. Studying Divine Intervention, Budapest: Collegium Budapest, 519–520.

Jezernik, Božidar, 2013: Nacionalizacija preteklosti. Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani.

Kamenetsky, Christa, 1972: Folklore as a political tool in nazi Germany. Journal of American Folklore 85 (337), 221–235.

Klobčar, Marija in Knific, Bojan, 2021: Pokažem se fantu v pisanem gvantu: ob petdesetih Dnevih narodnih noš in oblačilne dediščine v Kamniku. Kamnik: Zavod za turizem in šport.

Koski, Kaarina, 2020: Blending the vernacular and esoteric narratives on ghosts and fate in early twentieth-century esoteric journals. Approaching Esotericism and Mysticism: Cultural Influences. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis 29, 169–191.

Mencej, Mirjam, 2015: Unwitching. The Social and Magical Practice in Traditional European Communities. Western Folklore 74/2 (Spring 2015), 115–159.

Mencej, Mirjam, 2017: Styrian Witches in European Perspective. Ethnographic Fieldwork. London: Palgrave Macmillan / Springer.

Mullen, Patrick B., 2000: Belief and American Folk. Journal of American Folklore 113 (448), 119–43.

Narváez, Peter, 1991: Newfoundland Berry Pickers »In the Fairies«: Maintaining Spatial, temporal, and Moral Boundaries Through Legendry. V: Peter Narváez (ur.), The Good People, New Fairylore Essays, New York & London: Garland Publishing Inc., 336–368.

Niles, John D., 1999: Homo Narrans, The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Literature, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Sok, Jasna, 2003: Družina skozi življenjsko zgodbo. Pričevalnost gradiva s Kozjanskega. Magistrska naloga. Univerza v Ljubljani: Oddelek za etnologijo in kulturno antropologijo.

Stewart, Charles, 1991: Demons and the Devil. Moral Imagination in Modern Greek Culture. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Stewart, Pamela J. in Strathern, Andrew J., 2004: Witchcraft, sorcery, rumors and gossip. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Von Sydow, Carl Wilhelm, 1948: Selected papers on folklore. Izbral in uredil Laurits Bødker. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger.

Šešo, Luka, 2016: Živjeti s nadnaravnim bićima. Vukodlaci, vile i vještice hrvatskih tradicijskih vjerovanja. Zagreb: Naklada Jesenski i Turk.

Valk, Ülo, in Daniel, Sävborg, 2018: Place-Lore, Liminal Storyworld and Ontology of the Supernatural. An Introduction. V: Ülo Valk in Daniel Sävborg (ur.), Storied and Supernatural Places. Studies in Spatial and Social Dimensions of Folklore and Sagas. Studia Fennica Folkloristica 23. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, SKS, 7–24.

Wetherell, Margaret in Jonathan, Potter 1988: Discourse analysis and the identification of interpretative repertoires. V: Charles, Antaki (ur.), Analysing Everyday Explanation. A Casebook of Methods, SAGE Publications Ltd, 168-183.

Widdowson, John D. A., 1978: Animals as threatening figures in systems of traditional social control. V: J. Porter in W. Russell (ur.), Animals in folklore. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, Rowman & Littlefield, 33–41.



How to Cite

Mencej, M. (2023). Strategic Uses of Belief Narratives. Studia Mythologica Slavica, 26.