Critics claim that by objectifying culture, public folklorists limit or deny the agency of the practitioners of traditions whom they represent. This article analyzes how public folklorists engage dialogically with community members to mutually shape frames of representation, while facilitating community cultural self-determination. Arguing against a view of objectification as categorically exploitative, I demonstrate how agency is pursued and accomplished through cultural representations that may entail objectification but generate benefits for community members as well as for folklorists.

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