A Myth in Modern Age: Rodeo in American Cultural Memory and It's Chief Actor Cowboy

Ogut Eker G.

MILLI FOLKLOR, no.107, pp.122-136, 2015 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 107
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Title of Journal : MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Page Numbers: pp.122-136


As the discussions on whether or not myth is an expression form which has served its era in the means of production continue, people in modern age feel the need of power and magic of myth regardless of any restrictions on time and place. This view of perceiving modernity and tradition as a paradox is hidden in the mystery of human's effort to give life a meaning. In this article, from the point of the roles based on needs of "believing" and "attributing meaning" that myth has undertaken in culture, "rodeo" in American cultural memory will be read as "a myth in modern age" in which people want to sustain and live, and the chief actor of rodeo; "cowboy" will be viewed as a mythological hero. Based on the perspective of the "American identity" in an American's cultural memory who doesn't know farm life and doesn't have rodeo tradition in his life; rodeo will be handled as a show in which cultural meanings are reproduced with such purposes and expectations as taking a step into the nostalgic world temporarily that has never been experienced yet missed, spending free time with family members in American style of fun and experience. In addition, based on the view of 'turning a cultural image into an economic image in order to make profit' presented by cultural economy, the mission these images undertake in the economic field will be evaluated. As a result of the collected data, "meaning transfer" characteristic of American cultural memory is aimed to be presented. In this research, by assessing the cultural images of "rodeo" and "cowboy" on the basis of functions such as celebration, participation, having fun, encoding masculinity etc. the images that are coded and stored in American cultural memory will be subjected to cultural texture analysis. The feeling of belonging, behaviour patterns and tangible cultural products which are created by Modern age American citizens in the center of "rodeo myth" will be approached and analyzed according to Functional Folklore Theory which is one of the Context Based Folklore Theories.