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 Institutionalisation of Folklorism in the Czech Lands
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.
National Institute of Folk Culture and International Folklore Festival in Strážnice/ (60th anniversary of the Institute and 70th anniversary of the Festival
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.
Folk Dance and Musical Expression as Stage Adaptation – Folklore Ensembles in the Czech Lands in Care of One Institution<
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.
Contemporary Problems of Stage Creation of Amateur Folklore Ensembles in Slovakia in the Context of Institutional Care of Folk Dance
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.
Contemporary Narratives about “the Others” or Verbalization of Danger in the Public Space
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.