The special issue of the Journal of Ethnology 5/2015 in English is devoted to cultural heritage in its widest understanding by the ethnological academic community and expert public. Andrej Sulitka and Zdeněk Uherek focus on national minorities and their organizations in Prague (National Minority Organisations in Prague: structure, competence and social activities). Jana Pospíšilová, Jana Poláková and Klára Brožovičová pay attention to national minorities in Brno with an emphasis put on the Roma community (National Minorities in Brno. The Cultural Heritage of Roma in Excluded Locations). Juraj Hamar and Ľubica Voľanská describe the UNESCO documents on intangible cultural heritage and their practical implementation (Between Politics, Science and Bearers. Implementation of the UNESCO-Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage). Daniela Stavělová summarizes the phenomenon of the ride of the kings (one of the Czech Republic’s inscriptions on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity) and its contemporary research in the Vlčnov location (The Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov from the Perspective of Contemporary Research). Oľga Danglová devotes herself to folk visual-art traditions in Slovakia from the perspective of cultural heritage (Folk Art and Craft and Cultural Heritage. Ethnological Perspective and Practice on an Example from Slovakia).
The news from the discipline present the themes associated with applied ethnology. They describe the museology in the Czech Republic (including open-air museums and the use of traditional techniques for their construction) and the projects which are solved in scientific institutions within applied ethnology. The conclusion of the issue introduces noticeable publication activities of Czech ethnologists.
The focus of this text is on the assessment of the in-depth interviews which the authors of this article conducted in 2014 with the functionaries of important Prague minority associations associated in the House of National Minorities in Prague. The interviews concentrated on their attitudes to formal and informal institutions that the minorities form, on their opinion about the exercise of minority rights in Czech society, on the influence of the House of National Minorities on the club life in Prague and on the problems with administrative work which is necessary for club activity. Last but not least, the interviews focused on the financing of clubs and the political ambitions of their members. The interviews with the representatives of particular organizations showed diversity in the organizational structure of clubs and interest associations of particular minorities in Prague, and their different biases. The interviews showed a variety of strategies used in getting financial funding for the club activities and the resulting different financial security. The interviews also showed frequent problems with the infrastructure of the clubs. Quite a low level of legal consciousness of the interview participants was a significant piece of knowledge, although some of the participants take part in wider political life especially as members of political parties exceeding the minority groups. The authors of the article state in the conclusion that the opportunities for particular minorities to exercise their cultural and social needs through minority clubs are becoming differentiated. Without more purposeful support by the Czech Republic, especially the minority clubs bound to economically less successful countries will soon get into difficulties with their selection of services in comparison with the clubs bound to wealthier countries which fund the minority club activities in the Czech Republic.
During the last century, the multi-ethnic character of Brno changed in reaction to political and economic changes in the Czech Republic. The article is based on qualitative research on the national minorities in Brno and participating observation between 2007 and 2014. It offers a brief and informative overview of ethnological research in Brno since the late 1950s and changes in the methodological access to research on the town from the perspective of ethnology. A separate sub-chapter is devoted to the most important national minorities and ethnic groups. It draws attention to the census in the Czech Republic when its official data are in contrast to the qualified estimations (especially in terms of the number of the Roma). The contribution pays attention to the ethic, social and cultural development of the Roma and offers an informative and analytical view of the process of modernization and gentrification in the socially excluded location of Cejl in the district of Brno-North where a high percentage of the Roma live. In this town district are the most important cultural and educational and social facilities for the Roma (Museum of Romani Culture, various non-profit organizations) which attend to the preservation of cultural heritage of this Czech ethnic minority, among other things. The process of gentrification which is running here now influences the ethnic and social composition of the residents and thus the social culture of this town district. Development is heading towards the displacement of socially weak residents – mainly the Roma – which is in contrast to the intention of the subsidy principles of the European Union and the Integrated Development Plan for the City.
The contribution deals with the processes that are behind the creation of the lists of intangible cultural heritage at the national and especially the international level (UNESCO). It analyses the role of official documents, directives, materials, recommendations, etc. from the “workshop” of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) which plays a recommending role in the procedure of creation of the nomination registers of intangible cultural heritage which should be inscribed on one of the UNESCO Lists. Based on the participating observation from the sessions of the Intergovernmental committee (in 2013 and 2014) and the General Assembly of the 2013 Convention (in 2014) as well as written materials, the contribution shows with particular examples how necessary it is to maintain a balance between the ideas of communities (bearers of traditions), the scientific approach of experts (ethnologists, ethnomusicologists, ethnochoreologists, museologists…), interests of the member states to the 2003 Convention and UNESCO rules in the course of the nomination of particular elements.
The contribution introduces the theme of research into a traditional Shrovetide custom – the Ride of the Kings – in one of the ethnographic areas in the Czech Republic. The text is based on the contributions that became outcomes of international field research in a Czech location. This research was carried out thanks to the initiative of the ICTM Study Group on Ethnochoreology. The Group has dealt systematically with fieldwork through the ICTM Sub-Study Group of Field Research Theory and Method, a narrower-aimed study sub-group. The research focused on the traditional custom of the Ride of the Kings in the ethnographic area of Slovácko, which was chosen with special respect to the background provided by the inscription of the Ride on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The fact is undoubtedly reflected in how the outside world perceives the Ride and how the Ride is shared by the local community. It provides a space for research on viability and the process of transformations in this traditional expression in contemporary society.
The study follows the transformations in ethnologists’ understanding of cultural heritage in relation to folk culture. The text also refers to how their work changed in practical everyday life in Slovakia. The focus is on examples from the realm of tangible culture, traditions in handicrafts and visual art, their consumers and creators who have been termed “folk creators” to date. The contribution briefly describes the major features of the traditions at the time of their flourishing (from the 19th century until the first half of the 20th century) and their gradual decline and transformation (from the second half of the 20th century until now). The text calls attention to how the group and the particularity of consumers has changed and the regional differences in manufacture traditions have been removed; on the other hand, it highlights the ever stronger current efforts to revitalize the traditions in the name of the safeguarding of cultural heritage. The author also pays attention to the role the institutions, namely the state-funded Centre for Folk Arts and Crafts, play in the adjustment of parameters in relation to the use of folk production heritage. On empiric examples from the present, the text describes the differences in approaches and ways of treating the local inventory of local manufacture and visual traditions. The contribution closes with an article devoted to the discourse about the task of ethnology.
Journal of Ethnology 4/2015 is devoted to the theme Folklorism and its institutional support. Josef Jančář pays attention to the interest in folk culture and its protection (The Institutionalisation of Folklorism in the Czech Lands). Jan Krist and Martina Pavlicová remember the merit of the National Institute of Folk Culture, a distinctive scientific institution, for the study of folk culture and folklorism in the Czech Republic and its connection with contemporary the most important Moravian folklore festival (National Institute of Folk Culture and International Folklore Festival in Strážnice/ (60th anniversary of the Institute and 70th anniversary of the Festival) Daniela Stavělová deals with scenic presentation of folk dance in relation to the activity of the present National Information and Consulting Centre for Culture and its department for non-professional activity – ARTAMA (Folk Dance and Musical Expression as Stage Adaptation – Folklore Ensembles in the Czech Lands in Care of One Institution). Ján Blaho reflects topical situation of folk dance on Slovakian stages (Contemporary Problems of Stage Creation of Amateur Folklore Ensembles in Slovakia in the Context of Institutional Care of Folk Dance). In non-thematic contributions, Kateřina Dobrovolná presents research on narrative with focus on ethnic minorities in the Czech environment (Contemporary Narratives about “the Others” or Verbalization of Danger in the Public Space).
Jiří Vaníček with his presentation of research into children’s folklore ensembles (The Activity of Selected Children’s Ensembles – sociological research) opens the non-reviewed sections. Review Section is devoted to the historian Josef Polišenský (1915–2001) (author Oldřich Kašpar), Interview Section introduces the cultural anthropologist Zdeněk Salzmann (*1925) (author Daniela Mosaad Pěničková). Social Chronicle remembers anniversaries of Czech and Slovakian ethnologists Marie Brandstettrová (*1945), Marta Botiková (*1955), Ilona Vojancová (nar. 1955) and Andrej Sulitka (*1945) and publishes an obituary for the writer Ludvík Vaculík (1926–2015). Other regular sections publish reports from exhibitions and festivals and reviews of new books.
The term “folklorism” comprises a wide spectrum of the so-called second existence of folk culture: from the production of folk costumes and the revival of folklore expressions, customs and habits to the renewal of traditional handicraft techniques. Even though many folklore expressions accompanying the entertainment and social activities were used as early as in the late-18th century, the first attempts to institutionalise these interests came only with the development of club activities in the late-19th century. Folklorism and transformations of traditional folk expressions became a theme for the research fellows at universities and academic institutes in the late-20th century. It was Oldřich Sirovátka who paid attention to folklorism in our country. He emphasized that folklorism could be observed and evaluated solely as part of the complete cultural and social life. The foundation of the National Institute of Folk Culture in Strážnice in 1990, which is directly controlled by the Ministry of Culture, was important for research on this realm. An impetus for this was brought by the UNESCO document known as the Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore. The result of research on folk traditions awakes the interest of the wide public that chooses and prefers particular items from contextual and complex expression of folk culture according to its interests. This results in activities which we call folklorism with regard to their bound to folk tradition.
Since 1946, the biggest folklore festival in the Czech Republic has been organized in the Southern-Moravian town of Strážnice. Since 1956, a professional institution has worked there that deals with research into folk culture and its protection. The institution is called the National Institute of Folk Culture and belongs to the Ministry of Culture at the present. The Institute was established based on the activity of an office which organized the folklore festival, and enlarged to the contemporary estimable size with overlaps to domestic and international cultural and political stage. In general, the Institute’s focus is on intangible cultural heritage at its practical and theoretical levels. The International Folklore Festival Strážnice has evolved from the original Czechoslovak show of folk songs and dances into the dimensions that allow it to rank among big European festivals with different ways of presentation of traditional folk culture. The cooperation between the National Institute of Folk Culture and the International Folklore Festival Strážnice as well as their anniversaries were the reason for this study. The authors also explain social contexts that led to the interest in folk culture and its demonstration in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic.
The study is a probe into the world of contemporary folklore creation in the Czech lands – quite a young stage genre focused on stage adaptation of folk songs, instrumental compositions and dance, and their transition to the language of the theatre setting. The study is based on the assessment of a series of six biennial shows of folklore ensembles. This series was assessed by means of an analysis of video-records and programme brochures from the perspective of a participant and assessor of the particular years. We were interested in which directions the artistic creation of ensembles, inspired by folklore, is going, which transformations can be observed within this period of twelve years altogether and which issues have remained unchanged from the first attempts to demonstrate folk musical and dance culture on stage. The study is not aimed at an unequivocal classification of all these ways of stage work and topics. In contrast, the author tries to point out the overlaps of diverse views of the same matter, the combination of more approaches which can intersect within a single creative efforts. She tries to capture the tendencies that are safeguarded, transformed or newly discovered within this creative environment. The role of an appropriated institution (the National Information and Consulting Centre for Culture NIPOS-ARTAMA) is emphasized here. This institution provides the participants with an environment perceptive to their utterance, offers various feedback and motivates the participants for their further deeds.
The contribution deals with topical problems of scenic creation of amateur folklore ensembles in Slovakia in the context of institutional care of folk dances. It critically reflects the institutional methodical care and the directing of scenic programmes in the environment of the Slovakian amateur folklore movement with the emphasis on the topical theme which includes the use of archival documentaries with folk dances and their use in author’s scenic works. The text analyses the natural relation of the author’s scenic works inspired by folklore, and points out the principle of imitation and plagiarism and explains their positive and negative connotations. The programmes for children’s folklore ensemble are an independent theme. Other dominating problems of the contribution include the theme of authenticity and stylization when interpreting and arranging (especially in terms of choreography, dramaturgy and stage direction) the original material – the traditional folk dance in connections of its performance on stage.
The study presents results of research into the verbalization of threat to public space. The research was carried out in a part of Western Bohemia through informally transmitted and collectively shared oral texts, namely contemporary legends, rumours and biographical narratives which emphasize the phenomenon of ethnicity perceived by the narrators as a threat to public place. The study is divided into three thematic sections, closely bound to three major folk models of the threat to public space. Firstly, my paper deals with narratives based on the fabrication of the “life-threatening” ethnic minorities living in the Czech Republic. Secondly, there are narratives linked to a certain type of ethnic fast food restaurants, whose staff is believed to serve contaminated food. And finally, the focus is on narratives concerning all different fears of public space as it is – demonization of certain areas due to the numerous presence of these culturally-fabricated ethnic groups.
Journal of Ethnology 3/2015 focuses on intangible cultural heritage. Petr Janeček contemplates over the transfer of the intangible heritage concept from the political setting to the scientific framework of ethnology in relation to the already existing matters of ethnological research (European Ethnology and Concept of Intangible Cultural Heritage). Rebeka Kunej reflects on the Slovenian National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage from the perspective of dance culture (Dance and Sausages: The tangible form of intangible cultural heritage or vice versa? /Slovenian experience/). Mats Nilsson devotes himself to the theoretical grasp of the content of the terms “cultural heritage” and “tradition”, among other things, on the example of Swedish national polska dance (Keep Dancing Alive. Some personal remarks on dance as tradition and heritage). Dragana Radojičić and Miroslava Lukić Krstanović present particular experience with intangible cultural heritage in Serbia, including its institutional support. Damir Demonja and Tatjana Gredičak deal with cultural heritage in Croatia from the perspective of tourism (Production of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Serbia). The study by Daniela Machová does not relate to the theme and pays attention to the phenomenon of dance courses (Transformations in Youth Dance and Social Etiquette Courses in Bohemia since the mid-19th Century up to the Present). Stopping with Photos column is devoted to the “Old-Bavarian” Passion Plays. Review Section commemorates what would have been the 90th birthday of Oldřich Sirovátka (1925–1992), a literary scientist and folklorist. Interview Section pays attention to the anniversary of folklorist Marta Šrámková (born 1935). Social Chronicle remembers other anniversaries – ethnologist Peter Skalník (born 1945), ethno-musicologist Marta Toncrová (born 1945), ethnologist Hana Hlôšková (born 1955), and ethnologist Eva Večerková (born 1945) – and publishes obituary notes for musician Vlastimil Dřímal (1961–2014), fine artist Olga Vlasáková (1934–2015) and radio editor Jaromír Nečas (1922–2015). Other regular columns publish reports from conferences, festivals, concerts and review of new books.
The article deals with critical analysis of contemporary acceptance of the intangible cultural heritage concept in field of European ethnology. European ethnology has strong historic experience with making the key analytical terms of its study (“folk”, “traditional folk culture”, “folklore”, “tradition”) problematical. In its long history, these terms were more times redefined, deconstructed or even fully abandoned. In the last years, external as well as internal criticism of this traditional ethnological terminology led to a quick acceptance of an applied and originally political term “intangible cultural heritage” that was primarily created for the UNESCO international agenda. Unlike the above mentioned traditional ethnological terms, this concept features a lot of undoubted advantages (modern understanding of culture as a process and practice, not only as a product; social construction of its meaning; taking into consideration the community´s and society´s decision about its passing down from generation to generation; international consensus about its meaning). On the other hand, however, it brings about a lot of problematical facts (derivation from an unclearly defined applied concept of “heritage”; nature of a mere enumeration of designates; weak theoretical reflexion of the concept in the contrast with its strong political and ideological background). On a ground of the concise overview Begriffgeschichte, i.e. a brief history of the European ethnology´s terminology, the essay tries to find a corresponding position for this concept and to contemplate its role for this unusual discipline that is located at the boundary line between historiography, social sciences and humanities.
The aim of the paper is to present the implementation of the Slovenian national Register of intangible cultural heritage focusing on dance culture. The Slovenian Register currently lists just one element connected to dance traditions. The focus of the paper is to introduce the implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Slovenia, to outline the entry named Vuzemski plesi in igre v Metliki (Easter dance and games in Metlika) and to analyze discourses and dilemmas, which have arisen with this first inscription of dance related heritage. Furthermore, the article presents two of the dance practices which has not been jet recognized and registered on the national list of the intangible heritage: the first is a midnight dance of a newly married couple, and the second is veselica, a village festival. By comparing the dance practices with a production of the sausages (which has already been entered in a national Register) the author concludes that for certain (living) dance practice is more important to practice than to have an inscription in the Register.
This article discusses tradition versus heritage with example from Scandinavian (mainly Swedish) polska dance. The author also puts forward an idea how to understand a difference between the concepts tradition and heritage, and argues that it is the dancing that primarily must be taken into consideration, not the dances as such. Using heritage has a tendency to focus on the dances, while thinking of the concept of tradition more emphasizes dancing, the ongoing process of dance. This is an important distinction not least in the light of the UNESCO ideas about intangible cultural heritage. The consequence of intangible cultural heritage is that dance is seen more as objects, dances, instead of a process, dancing, since becoming certified heritage needs documentation. Documents are products, not processes, even if they are documents describing processes. The process of documentation creates artefacts put in archives that become heritage, dances, describing the process of dancing. The article does not want to define the concepts of heritage and tradition, but rather use the words to help us understand what happens when we create what is mostly called intangible cultural heritage.
Diverse traditions and heritage practices are the legacies of contemporary processes, and as such they are safeguarded and retained. The elements of intangible cultural meaning are presented as dynamic, often ambivalent processes that form specific cultural politics on a local, regional and global level. Intangible cultural heritage is projected in Serbia as a strategy of state politics, accumulated scientific knowledge and a network of various interactions and perceptions. Bearing in mind all the specific social-political circumstances of a country during the crisis and transitional period, practices, constructions and statuses of intangible cultural heritage are manifested through ambivalent processes of global networking and positioning on a national level. More and more traditions, heritage practices, social communities and groups are heading towards decentralization and pluralization, thus making it harder to register them and have a systematic overview. Safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in Serbia relies on people and their practices not just inside one country and its national borders but, as well, through self-identification and diffusion where unique maps of cultural diversities and perceptive empathies between people are created.
Cultural heritage and tourism are very complex in their content. Considering that tourism contributes to the overall economic development, tourist valorization of cultural heritage that has evolved over the centuries has to be one of the primary objectives. Concurrently, the protection and improvement of cultural and historical values, especially those architectural, in terms of market democracy as one of the primary tasks in which tourist destination should build its identity. The focus of the concept of economic development are not only the needs of a particular segment of consumers, but also the needs of the whole society which means it should take into account the necessity of preserving the characteristics of tourist destinations in the social, cultural and environmental terms. Since tourism development is unthinkable without such logic thinking, it is the foundation of its existence and further development. To create a concept of tourism development at lower spatial levels it is essential to make a thorough study to determine the possibility of tourist characteristics/features and values as well as the receptive possibilities of all those resources, natural and social, that will meet tourists’ needs. This paper discusses the importance of cultural heritage, analyzes the development of cultural tourism in Croatia, presents Croatian good practice examples of tourist valorization of the culture heritage, and explains the importance of the needs of tourist valorization of cultural heritage for the effective development of Croatian tourism and tourism in general.
The study writes about dance and social etiquette courses for young people in Bohemia. It observes the transformation of particular aspects of this phenomenon since the mid-19th century up to the present with regard to differences given by location (Prague, Jičín environs). It mentions the changes that have taken place in the taught repertoire of ballroom dances, the development of music accompaniment, the good-manners teaching and the formal dress. It mentions the form and structure of courses (lessons, extended dancing lessons, balls and graduation balls). It also pays attention to the members of those courses, bringing the first information from the running field research focused on the issue why the young people attend dance courses today. As resulting from the research, the youth dance courses fulfil a lot of social functions (the educational, socializing, dating, romantic, amusing ones) and they are a kind of living tradition. The author proceeds on the study of various period materials (archives, period literature) and the interviews with dancing instructors. The research is also based on observing the contemporary look of dances in defined locations (Prague, Jičín environs) and interviews with participants of those courses.
Journal of Ethnology 2/2015 deals with the theme Ethnologic Aspects of Adornment. In her study, Alena Dunajová pays attention to decoration of rural houses, especially on selected Moravian examples (Ars una, species mille. The form changes but the purpose remains – decoration of rural houses in the 19th and 20th century). Barbora Půtová writes about body adornments and their functions on examples of foot binding of young girls in Chinese culture, optical lengthening of women’s necks in the Kayan ethnic group and lip-plates inserting into women’s lips in the Mursi tribe.(The Relativity and Variability of Female Body Adornment). Martin Soukup introduces the theme of penis sheaths in New Guinea (Culture on Foreskin: New Guinea variations on fig leave). In his study, Petr Lozoviuk goes beyond the specified theme and writes about discussions regarding the national character of so-called Czech lands folk culture (Ethnography and Disputes about Ethnocultural Interpretation of “Folk Culture”).
Transforming Tradition column presents a text by Jana Poláková about the renewed Carnival procession in Opatovice near Rajhrad. Review Section publishes the Miloš Melzer´s memory of ethnographer Jan R. Bečák (1915–1987). Social Chronicle remembers anniversaries of Vítězslav Štajnochr (born 1945), an art historian and ethnologist; Vlastimil Vondruška (born 1955), an ethnologist, historian and writer; ethnologist Magdaléna Rychlíková (born 1955) and ethnologist Alena Vondrušková (born 1955). Other regular columns publish reports from exhibitions and festivals, reviews of new books and other news from the branch.
In connection with contemporary graphic expressions on village buildings we often point out the alleged loss of builders´ taste. The author proceeds from the so-called René Girard mimetic theory as a deciding influence on human cultural expressions. On many examples she documents the endeavour of the then builders to imitate some impressive and prestigious models and by appropriating them to get or demonstrate their social dominance. She compares the phenomenon of the so-called rural Baroque (country houses with gable walls imitating the Baroque style in Southern Bohemia) with the contemporary expressions of the so-called entrepreneurs´ Baroque. Especially on examples from Moravia she documents different forms and places where the decoration was used (it is used even today in some locations) – decors pressed into wet plaster, patterns scraped into hard plaster, decorative burnt bricks etc. She states a significant role of monument preservation for the protection of cultural monuments that by conservation of the survived condition enables the tangible proves to survive on the one side, on the other one, however, it steps in the process of local traditions in an unnatural way.
The subject of the paper is a comparative analysis of the relation between a culturally conditioned physical modification of the female body and its aesthetic and socio-cultural function in the life of three selected cultures. The phenomenon of adornment is analysed in the context of the social status of women, local myths and cultural traditions. Specific manifestations of body adornment and its variability are presented as a means contributing to the functioning of the society, integrity of cultural traditions and demonstration of the social status of members of a given society. Adornment and its function in the society are researched on the examples of foot binding of young girls in the traditional Chinese culture, optical lengthening of women’s necks in the Kayan ethnic group and lip-plates inserting into women’s lips in the Mursi tribe. When analysing the adornment connected with women´s physical suffering we also pay attention to its relativity when considered from the gender perspective. Different aspects of adornment are mapped in specific cultural and historic context on the background of values and standards of the researched cultures.
The study deals with the analysis of penis sheaths the New Guinea men used to wear. The artefact was understood to be just a part of attire in some cultures, in other ones it was connected with initiations or worn solely on special occasions. The text presents the voluminous spectrum of materials the penis sheaths used to be made from, as well as the variety of occasions on which it used to be worn. Following cultural contacts and especially by the influence of missionaries and colonial administrations, the New Guinea men gradually stopped wearing the penis sheaths. The penis sheaths became a symbol of “primitiveness” based on which the colonial administrations and governments built their development and administrative projects. Nowadays, especially tourists desire to see the primitive New Guinea represented by a picture of the New Guinea man wearing the penis sheath. This has become a souvenir which can be bought in holiday resorts, at the airports or local markets. At present, penis sheaths are worn rather exceptionally in Papua-New Guinea, usually on festive occasions and as a part of cultural shows. In the part of New Guinea that belongs to Indonesia, penis sheaths are worn either in regions much-sought-for by tourists, or as a political protest.
The study is devoted to the idea background to the discussions about the national character of so-called folk culture of the Czech lands inhabitants. On analysed examples from Western Bohemia, the ethno-cultural ambivalence of local ethnographic facts is thematised and the national and political tools of the discussions regarding their ethnic origin is explained. In this connection, the ethnography of that time is interpreted a “national science” that had a specific task consisting in the explication of national particularity. The author makes a conclusion that to recognize the “Slavonic” or the “German” feature of particular cultural artefacts or even larger cultural systems in the ethnographic production of that time was rather an ideological wish of the given interpreter than a scientific reflexion.
Journal of Ethnology 1/2015 focuses on the theme Wedding Ceremony and Its Transformation. In her study, Jana Malecká acquaints the readers with the strategy for choosing Muslim partners and the ways of making acquaintances in the Sunni society, especially in Syria, Jordan and Palestine (Searching for Muslim Bride: from arranged marriages to Internet dating agency). Martin Soukup introduces “bride-wealth”, a wedding tradition at the Nungon ethnic group in Papua New Guinea (“Adam Did Not Pay for Eva either“: Bride-Wealth with Nungons and Its Transformation). Marta Ulrychová deals with the country wedding in the Pilsen region, comparing the Czech and the German ethnic group (Karl Poetzl’s Wedding Description, Recorded in German Communities in the Pilsen Region in the late-19th Century, in Confrontation with Manuscript Records and Czech Collector´s Studies in the Same Region). In their contribution, Juraj Hamar and Lenka Filipová introduce some actual tendencies in Slovak folklorism (Traditional Custom of Čepení in the Context of Contemporary Wedding in Slovakia). František Kašník’s contribution explains the origin of men´s folk-dress trousers in South Moravia (On Alleged Influence of the Croatians Settled in Moravia and in the Valtice-Region on Folk Culture in the Ethnographic Area of Podluží in 19th and 20th Century).
Review Section publishes Marta Šrámková’s reflections on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of birth of Matěj Mikšíček (1815–1892), a personality interested in literary folklore; Marta Toncrová’s contribution remembers one hundred and fifty years from the birth of Františka Kyselková, a folk song collector (1865–1951). Social Chronicle remembers anniversary of ethnologist Alena Kalinová (born 1955) and decease of musicologist Jan Trojan (1926–2015). Other regular columns publish reports from exhibitions, festivals, concerts, and review of new books.
The study speaks about different strategies used for the selection of life partners, and ways how to get to know him/her in Arab Sunni society. A section is devoted to arranged marriages in the case of endogamy and exogamy whereby noticeable is the deciding influence of family members on the marriage. Through marriage not only a man and a woman but mainly two families are bonded, mutual family and ancestry bonds are strengthened and family wealth is extended. The author does not omit even individual dating strategies of girls and boys. She also pays attention to the possibilities to using the service of a paid matchmaker or the potential of Internet marriage agencies and social networks. The witnesses of informants – Sunni Muslims coming from Syria, Jordan and Palestine – constitute the major source of information.
The study presents a theoretical-empiric analysis of the bride-wealth with a focus on the cultures in New Guinea. In his explanation, the author describes usual features of the bride-wealth as well as relating anthropologic concepts and explanations. Special attention is paid to selected types of artefacts used as bride price in the New Guinea societies. The study thoroughly deals with the description and explanation of the bride-wealth (oretno) at the Nungon ethic group living in the Saruwaged Mountains. The author focuses especially on cultural changes that have influenced the bride-wealth in this ethnic group. This concerns mainly the impact of Christianity on the Nungon culture, and on marriage. The Nungons profess Lutheranism or Adventism. The members of both denominations however adapt a non-compatible stance against oretno, as described in detail in the study. The aim of the study is to describe the form and transformations of the bride-wealth in New Guinea on an example of the Nungon culture.
The contribution deals with the country wedding in the so-called wider Pilsen region. The author makes accessible the manuscript Sitten und Gebräuche in Nürschan u. dessen nächster Umgebung (Customs and Habits in Nýřany and its Closest Environs) written by Karl Poetzel, a teacher in Nýřany. Based on comparison with Czech sources, one can state that the wedding ceremony in the Czech and the German communities is similar as to its basic contours, because the communities featured the same nature conditions, and therefore the same way of farming and the same relationship with all the rules for the public and the family life. These survived even though the Nýřany region changed significantly in the second half of the 19th century because of the mining industry development. While it was the language and the folk costume that were the only difference indicator in the mid-19th century, in the second half of that century the ethnic life polarized. In the 1930s, German villages in the Nýřany region were understood as a part of the so-called large Cheb region. These influenced folk ceremonies as well – under the press of ideology, instead of common features there were emphasized outside remarkable differences which in fact were less significant. The ethnic situation in the Pilsen region fundamentally changed upon the after-war expulsion of German inhabitants. While the terms “country wedding from the Pilsen region” and “Pilsen wedding” have been understood as a strong Czech phenomenon since the mid-19th century, the term “wedding ceremony in the Pilsen region” – thanks to the disclosure of German sources - must be understood in a broader context today.
Recently, we can observe an increase in traditional elements at wedding (civil or church) ceremonies and wedding parties, especially in towns and settings with active folklore ensembles in Slovakia. The contribution focuses mainly on the ritual of traditional čepčenie putting a married women´s bonnet on bride´s head in the context of the contemporary wedding in Slovakia. The authors reflect this phenomenon from the point of view of insiders and participants in this contemporary phenomenon. The traditional ritual of čepčenie with members of folklore ensembles is signed by the ensemble folklorization whereby the aesthetic and entertainment function of čepčenie is emphasized. Gradually – alongside the popularity and demand for such stage performances, there are formed organized semi-professional groups of those who offer the ritual of čepčenie as a commercial paid service, mainly through social networks and the Internet. Despite the conversion of the original ceremonial function of čepčenie into the aesthetic and entertainment function, this phenomenon is an important step towards the protection and promotion of intangible cultural heritage.
The contribution deals with the Croatian population settled in South Moravia and Lesser Austria (Valticko region) at the time of Turkish incursions of the 16th century. In Moravia, the Croatians found their home in the villages of Jevišovka (former Frélichov, Frjélištorf), Dobré Pole (former Gutfjeld) and Nový Přerov (former Nova Prerava), in the environs of which only German inhabitants lived. Another group was settled 25 km further to the east, in the villages of Hlohovec, Charvátská Nová Ves and Poštorná, in the immediate neighbourhood of Czech-speaking inhabitants. In connection with national movement, Czech intellectuals critically evaluated the efforts of Austria to Germanize the Slavonic inhabitants living in the Empire, e.g. even the Croatians settled in the Valticko region. It was opened the issue of influence of the settled Croatians on folk culture in South Moravia (the ethnographic area of Podluží), in particular on men´s folk dress. A lot of ethnographers gave their opinion that Czech inhabitants took over some expressions of folk culture from the Croatians. Red trousers typical for men´s folk dress in the ethnographic area of Podluží since the mid-19th century until now are one of such examples. The author summarizes literature as well as written and iconographic sources concerning the above theme, showing that it was uniforms of Hungarian army and nobility that was a real model.