Journal of Ethnology 3/2016 brings up the theme “Folk dress redivivus – the function of folk costume in the 21st century”. In her study, Eva Románková offers an overview of the development in folk dress in chosen European countries (From National Movement to Folklorism: a transformation in folk dress in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries). Simone Egger pays attention to the perception of folk dress as a social symbol (The “National Costume” in the Period of Post-Modernism. The Policy of Identity, Staging and Identification). In her contribution, Marta Ulrychová presents the life of folk costumes in German borderland (Function of the “Tracht“ in the Life of Inhabitants in the Northern Part of the Bavarian Forest (the present situation). Bjørn Sverre Hol Haugen describes the current existence of folk dress in Norway (Reconstructed times: a case study of Norwegian folk dress).
The Transforming Traditions column publishes a contribution by René Kopecký The Conciliation Cross in Jetenovice; in Review Section, Oldřich Kašpar deals with visual artefacts depicting panoramas of towns and nature (Cosmorama of the 18th and 19th Centuries as an Ethnographic Source) and Ondřej Volčík remembers the 100th birthday of the musician, teacher and folklorist Vladimír Klusák (1916–1991). Social Chronicle is devoted to anniversaries of the ethnologists Jiří Langer (*1936), Ludmila Tarcalová (*1946), Alena Křížová (*1956), Věra Frolcová (*1956) and Jiří Traxler (*1946). Other regular columns contain reports from exhibitions, conferences, and festivals as well as reviews of new books.
From National Movement to Folklorism: a transformation in folk dress in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.
European society of the 19th and 20th centuries underwent a lot of changes which were caused by economic, social and political reasons. Due to this, European countries set their hopes on symbols of national safety which they often tried to find in the expressions of traditional folk culture. Folk dress was among the most important ones. In many European countries, the last quarter of the 18th century saw struggles to create a kind of national dress, especially in connection with the spread of Romanticism ideas. The need for national costume used to be determined by historical circumstances and the position of a particular country or ethnic group in relation to the nations surrounding them. In this way, for example, the connection of Dirndl and leather trousers in the German speaking countries, or the Norwegian bunad developed. In the sense of the Romantic opinion on the countryside, even Scottish noblemen accepted the dress coming from the Highlands in Scotland as a symbol of their political goals. In eastern-European countries, people stopped wearing folk dress on regular basis significantly later, often only in the 20th century. For this reason, regional differentness could be preserved there, which did not lead to the creation of a single type of national costume. This could not be pushed though even in the Czech lands even though the 19th and 20th centuries saw the struggles to create national dress with a strong identifying function. On the other hand, contemporary wearers and makers, while reconstructing folk garments, are more and more interested in the original local appearance and variability of folk dress.
„The national costume” in the period of postmodernism. The Policy of identity, staging and identification
The globalized present is significantly characterized by mobilities and an analogy of possibilities. The transmission of images through digital media plays a central role in the communication. The expressions which can be subsumed under the “label of that ethno-cultural” have not become obsolete in an aestheticizing world, but they have been drawing increasing attention since the 2000s. From the ethnographic point of view, the focus on the theme national costume can be anchored between the clichés policy of identity, staging and identification. The contribution will use diverse examples, especially those connected with the Alpine region, to explain which meanings are included in the treatment of specific cuts, traditions and typical patterns, and to which extent the coping with ethno-culturally encoded objects has something to do with the search after a time, spatial or social order.
Function of the “Tracht“ in the Life of Inhabitants in the Northern Part of the Bavarian Forest (the present situation)
Especially in the last decade, one can notice an increasing popularity of the festive dress in Bavaria, which claims its allegiance to traditional rural and town clothing in terms of its cut, colours, decorations and particular accessories. The residents of the monitored location – an area of the Bavarian Forest – use the term Tracht for it. Because the phenomenon has drawn only little attention of specialized literature to date, the author relies on her long-time fieldwork that is based on participant observation and semi-structured interviews with local people. First, she tries to explain two basic used terms – Tracht and Dirndl, and continues with other garments after that. When describing men´s and women´s dress, she only sketches general and stabilized features because the limited range of this study does not allow her to probe different variants more deeply. These are not only a result of occasions on which the Tracht is worn, but also a consequence of fast changes in fashion as a result of fashion designers´ strategies. The author´s major focus is on the manner in which the Tracht carries out the function of a festive dress and club uniform. While its locally-representative function is nearly zero (except for music bands, the Tracht does not have any attributes to distinguish between inhabitants of particular villages and towns), the Tracht is an unambiguous indicator to define club affiliation. Because the northern part of the Bavarian Forest is a borderland bordering on the Czech Republic, the authors trie to point out mutual influences in terms of clothing. Czech residents do not wear the Tracht, however, they take over only everyday garments (e.g. the men like wearing the popular combination of a chequered shirt and jeans), maybe exceptionally the Murtalerhut, a felt hat with a wide brim, from their Bavarian neighbours. The afore-mentioned subject-matter calls for further continuing studies.
Reconstructed times: a case study of Norwegian folk dress
In many parts of Norway different folk dress developed during preindustrial time and some were still in use during 20th Century. Today they are sustained and in use for special occasions. Older folk dress is also revitalized as part of today’s cultural heritage. This paper presents the revival of folk dress in Norway and discusses how questions of time are represented in the work of revitalization. Folk dress of one particular area of western Norway serves as a case study for this survey. The main goal with this paper is to reveal how chronology and art history as well as trends and traditions are entangled in the complexities of folk dress.