Transcending Cultural Boundary: Renegotiating the Significance of the Spider Folktale

Abba A. Abba


The enchanted discourse of intercultural communication and globalization cannot be sufficiently enacted without the recognition of the revered place of folktales as cultural products. This paper, while developing its argument on the preponderance of the spider folktale across world cultures, argues that folklore has provided and continues to provide the framework for the breakthrough in inter-cultural communication and global networking. Such terms as the "web spider" and the "world wide web" which are associated with Information technology are hints on the myth of the spider as a global inter-connector. Throughout history, there have been many cultural depictions of the spider in folklore, popular culture, mythology and symbolism. From European, Asian, American, Australian down to African folklores, the spider has been depicted in varied forms ranging from: the cursed to the revered; from the tormentor to the protector, and from the greedy to the inspirer. Although, it has been used to symbolize these tolerable and the despicable ideas, the representation of the spider in many national folklores shows that it is the weaver and the ancestor of intercultural communication. Thus adopting a combination of Comparative Folklore and National Folklore theoretical approaches in interrogating the multifarious characterization of the spider in global cultural production and system of knowing, this paper privileges folklore as a purveyor of globalization.

Keywords: Folklore, mythology, intercultural communication, globalization, spider

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