Arab folk culture: Identity versus globalisation
In this study, the researcher focuses on folk heritage and identity and studies their correlation with folk literature and its models. The paper describes the relationship between life and heritage, a relationship that gives a country the foundation on which to build its society. This foundation can be affected by history, the present and the future. Heritage and identity change due to internal shifts, and this is the situation in the Arab world, which is faced with a loss of strategy and with dilemmas including the issues of authenticity and modernity.
We must take the following steps in the present reality in which heritage and identity suffer from neglect and dependency:
First: Adopt a clear method for studying and reviving heritage by tracking its historical movement and highlighting its elements with the goal of developing interaction with the Other, progress and openness within the new world.
Second: This method should be accompanied by the constructive criticism of folk heritage, so as to create harmony between the form and the content, and to keep abreast of the passage of time and changes in the natural environment.
Third: The Arab world is currently in a state of anxiety, indecisiveness and instability in addition to other confusing situations. This leads to a lack of clarity about the Arab world’s needs, including the issue of identity. We may conclude that a clear sense of heritage creates a clear identity and vice versa.
Fourth: We must look at our current situation, which is characterised by neglect and a lack of concern about many issues. This affects heritage and identity.
Fifth: We must review the Arab approach to everything, especially how we think, disseminate knowledge, protect and encourage scholars, and we must protect the Arabic language by bringing it to the forefront.
Sixth: We must focus on higher education so that instead of receiving knowledge, higher education produces, invests in and expands knowledge in order to establish a knowledge base that forms the cultural infrastructure of the society.
Seventh: We must reconsider the Arab media - both as a whole and in its different forms - in light of the important role that the media currently plays in disseminating and transmitting knowledge.
Eighth: We must emphasise the fact that folk literature is the most important element of heritage, and that it plays an important role in protecting identity.
Salim Al Maush