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Updated on April 21, 2012
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Christopher F. Bueno is currently the Dean of the College of Education, University of Northern Philippines, Vigan City.

The social phenomena of the folkways are generally presented by the psychological and cultural views as standard human actions of a distinct ethnic group. Generally, it is the unique, distinct and isolated tradition and culture developed by the ancestors which have been passed from one generation to the next generation. The social development process of folkways is the way the social group to think, act, and live based on the observation and conviction of certain social facts. In the folkways, the group process operates by the intermediary of societal forces to define the distinct social life that later on carried by the group members through learned behavior and repetitive observation of customs and habits in the community.

Folkways are the expected behavior being practiced in certain ethnic groups. They provide us the set of expected behavior to follow within the customs and habits in the ethnic groups. A good example of the folkways in the community is the courtship and dating, which prescribed certain behavioral practices that need to be followed as it is distinctly complement the kind of custom and habits they have in that ethnic group.

The term FOLKWAYS was coined by William Graham Summer (1840-1910) in his book “A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores and Morals in 1906. In the origin of folkways represents the physiological needs of the individual to conform the traditional practices confronted by the habitual prescription of social activities in the ethnic group. Therefore, the origin of this concept refers to the imperative human actions derive to imitate the tradition and culture of a given society.

The idea of Summer (1906) extends his phenomenological analysis in the societal force to convey the transformation of folkways to custom on the basis of the philosophical and ethical view of tradition. The social interaction of the group members produces constant repetition of behavioral acts based on observation, imagination and conviction of human experiences that later on will form part as habit and custom. However, there are social issues to address the human experiences of pleasure and pain as a means to metamorphose the societal welfare that will be later on convert into folkways which will further transform to mores. The social acceptance on particular folkways is part of the ethnocentrism by a given society.

It must be noted that Summer (1906) extends his interpretation of folkways in the unconscious and recurrent needs of the social needs of man. It is reflected in the physiological through the underlying idea that man is a social being. The human existence is not simply food and water but the psychological transformation is directed towards the environment as it may lead to the biological transformation of man. Hence, instinctive human nature on folkways is just like the flock of animals to sway and follow the group direction that provides the complemented action of the herd.

Furthermore, Summer (1906) explained the centrality of development process of folkways on the idea that derives from the suggestive doctrine of the mind to mind. It is simply the social interaction about the human knowledge of the different angles of culture and tradition. The invention of knowledge through cooperation among members of the group provides the development of folkways such as customs on rituals, bathing, washing, eating, and other forms of social activities.

What is interesting in the development of folkways is the false inference about social facts which are the by-product of pseudo-knowledge :

1. The repetitive and coincidental social evidences form part of the folkways as true observation of facts.

2. The conformance of mystic beliefs and ideals as a result of the tradition and custom adoption for generation.

3. The irrational and incongruous action of mystic phenomena.

4. The behavioral customs and mores that have been passed from generation to next generation.

5. The ancient social beliefs and historical accidents that have continuously affected by the ethnic groups.

The folkways are the part now of the tradition and custom that cannot be traced by its origin but the true social value provides the vibrancy of societal activities. It also shows respect on human action particularly the elders. They are social makers of the tradition and culture just like the rituals, traditional practices on courtship, personal hygiene, communal action, festivities and other social invention of the distinct culture of the community.



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