Journal of Ethnology 4/2017 deals with the theme Contemporary Legends and Rumours. In her study Zuzana Panczová conducts a survey of selected Internet conspiracy theories in historical and international contexts (Apocalyptic Visions of Conspiracy Theories on Slovak Internet Antisystem Websites). Vladimír Bahna thinks about conspiracy theories from the perspective of their bearers (Argumentum ad hominem. Argumentation Strategies of Conspiracy Theories Advocates in Slovak Internet Discussions). Kateřina Dobrovolná pays attention to the treatment of contemporary research into demonological legends, the transmission of which is not bound only to oral tradition, but also to communication mass media, especially the Internet (Contemporary Demonological Legends from Western Bohemia and Their Categorization). Oldřich Kašpar explains results of his folkloristic research in Mexico in 2007–2014 (Several Notes on Contemporary Mexican Legends and Rumours). In further studies and materials - beyond the main themes – the treatises “New Speakers” in the Context of Minority Languages in Europe and Revitalisation Efforts (by Leoš Šatava) and Modern Dance Tradition in Popice near Hustopeče in the Context of Historical-Cultural Development of the Village (by Jarmila Teturová) are published.
Review Section submits a text by Gabriela Kiliánová, devoted to 100th birthday of the Slovak ethnologist Andrej Melicherčík (author Gabriela Kiliánová) and two texts by Oldřich Kašpar, which remember the Czech travellers Čeněk Paclt (1813–1887) and Josef Kořenský (1847–1938). Social Chronicle remembers the anniversaries of the Czech romologist Eva Davidová (born 1932) and the Slovak ethnomusicologist Soňa Burlasová (1927). It also publishes an obituary for Jean Rohe (1946-2017), an eminent personality in the international folklore movement. Other regular columns inform about exhibitions, conferences, reviews and reports from the discipline.
Apocalyptic Visions of Conspiracy Theories on Slovak Internet Antisystem Websites
Conspiracy theories belong to rumours which are specific for their theme - they speak about secret coadunations that influence different spheres of public interest. Albeit the following may not be a rule, such theories often express negative attitudes toward the existing system, understanding official state institutions, media and authorities representing the official discourse as representatives of this system. Non-confidence against the system is connected with visions about approaching catastrophe, or about gradual planned decline of society. The increase in popularity of conspiratorial interpretations is also supported by specific features of the Internet communication. Current “conspiracy culture” spreads mainly in cyberspace, while absorbing a wide spectrum of themes and motives interconnecting different spheres of ongoing events with ideas going back to the past. It creates a platform for attitudes and persuasions being excluded, which moreover form coalitions of opinion through a picture of the common enemy. The article tries to explain narrative and argumentation strategies, which unite different types of ideological persuasions.
Argumentum ad Hominem. Argumentation Strategies of Conspiracy Theories Advocates in Slovak Internet Discussions
The article tries to analyse argumentation strategies of conspiracy theories advocates in Slovak Internet discussions. The goal is to comprehend the causes of persuasiveness and successful cultural transmission of conspiracy theories. The article is based on the presumption that arguments used by contributors in the discussion, are an image of what they consider to be persuasive, and for this reason, they reflect - to a certain extent - the successful cultural transmission. The results show that the pro-conspiracy argumentation in the discussions systematically repeats the “argument ad hominem”, which - instead of attacking the essence and content of arguments in official stories - attacked the sources of information or persons that supported them in a given discussion. The attacks accused them of intentional deception and participation in the conspiracy. Referring to cognitive-psychological literature, the author comes to a conclusion that this phenomenon can be explained by people´s natural tendency to prefer explanations that offer other people´s intentions as a cause of an event. Figuratively speaking, the conspiracy theories “sponge” on the natural property of human thinking to occupy oneself with intentions of other people.
Contemporary Demonological Legends from Western Bohemia and Their Categorization
The study deals with demonic beings and phenomena that appear in the documented demonological legends from contemporary Western Bohemia; furthermore, it studies the transformations in locations where these demonic beings are supposed to reside, as the narrators admit and if the locations in which frightening stories related to the demonic beings took part, as traditional demonological legends say, remained more or less unchanged, or if they have been transformed to the extent that the demonological legends are spread only in the urban environment today. The study presents several selected legends and similar narratives, which have been documented through semi-structured interviews with the inhabitants of the Pilsen Region and its surroundings, it categorizes them according to the venue, and catalogues them. The primary emphasis is put on the cataloguing of the collected legends and narratives using the catalogue of demonological legends by Jan Luffer.
Several Notes on Contemporary Mexican Legends and Rumours
The submitted study focuses on the research into contemporary urban legends in Mexico. In contrast to Europe and other regions, these are influenced by three basic factors – the pre-Columbian cultural heritage, the strong influence of the Catholic Church, which is a breeding ground for folk superstitiousness, and the hitherto unsolved problem of Mexican identity. The text contains particular examples to illustrate the above-mentioned facts and to exemplify the difference between the contemporary and the European (Czech) legend and rumour. The author also points out the fact that in Mexico the contemporary rural legends exist. These become known only slowly, because their narrators and audience have only limited possibilities of using modern media for their more mass spreading. It can be said generally (and it is nothing surprising), that the rural Mexican legend is much more conservative that the urban one. The study is supplemented by a voluminous bibliography, which draws attention, among other things, to the basic works of Latin-American authors on this theme.
“New Speakers” in the Context of Minority Languages in Europe and Revitalisation Efforts
Until recently the (socio)linguistic studies concerned with minority languages focused chiefly on “native speakers”. Equally, the (ethno)linguistic revitalisation efforts tried to strengthen or reinstall the intergenerational language transmission. Currently, however, a change is occurring within the context of the phenomenon of “new speakers”, i.e. persons who have acquired the language in a way different from their family background, or that of “postvernacular languages” or “xenolects” formed on this basis. The increase in the significance of (activist) “new speakers” (in many cases outnumbering the traditional users of the language) has become so important since the turn of the 21st century that at present the research on this phenomenon ranks among representative branches of the ethnolinguistic revitalisation issues. Despite the shift under discussion, the given framework still contains a number of yet unsolved and open levels, e.g. in connection with the flexibility and fluidity of the linguistic field´s boundaries, which seemed to be fixed until recently, with questions of legitimacy and authenticity of various types of the language, or a possible bridging of the dichotomous gap and the integration of both groups of the users.
Modern Dance Tradition in Popice near Hustopeče in the Context of Historical-Cultural Development of the Village
The study presents the results of the field research into modern dance tradition, which was carried out in the village of Popice in the Břeclav area between 2016 and 2017. The village is situated in the South-Moravian borderland, and before the Second World War the original German population predominated there. After the war, during which the village was united with the German Reich, the occupied territory was given back to Czechoslovakia and the German-speaking inhabitants of Popice were displaced. From 1946, within a settlement programme controlled by the government, the village was populated by inhabitants from the Slovácko ethnographic area. The study deals with the formation of modern dance tradition and its development to date, accentuating particular dance opportunities monitored in the context and historical-cultural transformations of the village. The dance opportunities are thoroughly described with an emphasis on their content and the importance of the organizers´ position within the commenced intergenerational transmission of modern dance traditions. Attention is paid to the ongoing process of the construction of Popice inhabitants´ identity in connection with the transmission and adoption of folk-costume and customary elements from the ethnographic area of Hanácké Slovácko. The knowledge summarized in the study can serve as a basis for longitudinal research.