As a primary generator and transmitter of expressive culture, the family is an important source for folklorists. Nevertheless, our dependence on family often has gone unrecognized and unproblematized in folklore scholarship. Enlarging the scope of family folklore beyond an identified, largely celebratory core to include other considerations of family narrative, we complicate folkloristic concepts of group, genre, and performance. Like any other group, families are made, not given, and are performed in diverse and shifting ways. The articles in this special issue explore the inherently dialogic, multi-voiced, co-produced, and sometimes conflictive nature of narratives of identity shared within families. By taking family, rather than the individual, as the producer and primary audience for these stories, the introductory essay and the articles that follow highlight ways in which family storytelling invites imaginative identification even across difference and contributes to a folkloristic understanding of both family identity and personal narrative.

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