This article considers three basic terms in folk literature studies: tradition, folk, and aesthetics, in comparison between the classic understanding and a new understanding promoted and applied by American folklorists of Contextual movement. For the term tradition, these folklorists paid attention to not only the historical connection between a folklore item and the past, but also the traditionalization which is the way man effect on and create traditions for themselves. For the term folk, these folklorists, on the one hand, brought into use the term folk group depicting people who share any common identity (take the place of a too broad and mainly peasant involving “folk” term as before), on the other hand, through studying situations of folklore items in use, they tried to demonstrate that folklore can contribute to social relationships. For the term aesthetics, instead of using aesthetics of romanism and nationalism, they consider the beauty of folklore in the fitness for the using situation, as well as in its dynamic social unity.
Key words: folk literature, folklore, tradition, folk, aesthetics, context, performance.