Journal of Ethnology 4/2018 deals with the theme “The Professions and Their Social Positions”. In her study, Petra Košťálová submits a historical analysis of Armenian diaspora with the emphasis on the role of Armenian merchants who, mainly in the 19th century, began to go beyond their trading activities and acted as benefactors, philanthropists, and bearers of education and national ideas (Armenian Diaspora and Its Identitary Strategies: Khodjas, Amiras, Guilds). Katarína Koštialová pays attention to the formation of the social-professional group of foresters in relation to the city of Zvolen, and to the creation of a city symbol containing the forestry tradition (An Interaction of the Socio-Professional Group and the City (based on the example of the town of Zvolen, a Slovak Forestry Town)). Daniela Machová focusses on the profession of a dance instructor (Knowledge Transfer among Czech Dance Instructors), and Josef Bartoš writes about the profession of a dancer (The Motivation to Carry On the “Freelance” Dance Profession in the Contemporary Czech Society). The study by Jörgen Torp, which does not relate to the main topic, deals with the dissemination of popular music in urban settings (Popular Music in the Network of Cities).
Review Section publishes treatises about anniversaries of two significant persons of the Czech National Revival – Václav Matěj Kramerius (an article by Oldřich Kašpar about Kramerius’s contribution to the beginnings of the Czech non-European ethnography) and Václav Bolemír Nebeský (an article by Dalibor Dobiáš, presenting the reflection of writer’s output). Social Chronicle remembers the anniversaries of the ethnologist Judita Hrdá (born 1958), the ethnologist and archaeologist Jiří Pajer (born 1948), the ethnologist Kateřina Klápšťová (born 1948), the ethnologist Bohuslav Šalanda (born 1948), and the ethnologist Vanda Jiřikovská (born 1933). Further regular columns inform about exhibitions, conferences, concerts and new books.
Armenian Diaspora and Its Identitary Strategies : Khodjas, Amiras, Guilds
The article focusses on the analysis of crafts and professions that occurred in particular Armenian communities and diaspora centres in modern history. In this respect, it is possible to discover a certain trend to carry out some types of professions, which then determined the social status and the social position. Influential Armenian merchants (khodjas) acted not only as mediators who connected several cultures due to their minority position, but also as benefactors and philanthropists who supported the Armenian Apostolic Church first, and then even the first generations of Armenian revivalists. Their virtual monopoly for trading in silk, gold and jewellery helped them create international trade networks the effect of which became evident both in West-European cities and in the Far East. Judging from period travellers´ reports, the share of Armenian city elite was quite distinct in Ottoman and Persian cities; (according to European authors) they represented the “visible minority” which most reference works from that time refer to and whose image became, due to frequent descriptions, an integral part of the European discourse concerning Orient, or Christian Orient by extension. Armenian merchant dynasties of amiras became the main motor for Ottoman industrialization; the Armenians in the role of sarrafs (bankers) guaranteed both sultans´ and European banks´ loans.
An Interaction of the Socio-Professional Group and the City (on the example of Zvolen, a Slovak Forestry Town)
The study focuses on the socio-professional group of foresters in Zvolen, with the emphasis on the interaction between the group and the town. It works on the assumption that the group is involved in creating the image of the town image in a specific way. The introduction to the study focuses on the transformation in professions within the social and urban context, which had happened in connection with the changes in the nature of work, the changing socio-political climate, and the introduction of modern technologies and innovative processes. The main section highlights the geographical, natural, historical, cultural and social determinants, state and political decisions, as well as support initiatives of town´s representatives, which affected the formation of the researched group. The group presents itself by means of an established network of forestry institutions, buildings and specific spaces, which complete the overall architectural and urban image of the town. The research illustrated that the socio-professional group influences the educational as well as the employment structure of inhabitants and by means of educational, cultural and social activities it is becoming a creator and co-shaper of town´s/municipal specifics. The interaction between the group and the town also includes the creation of policy and development projects, which resulted in fulfilling the visions and image of the town of Zvolen as a forestry town.
Knowledge Transfer among Czech Dance Instructors
Ballroom dance and etiquette lessons are considered to be a unique phenomenon with more than one-hundred-year long tradition in the Czech lands. It is the young people´s sustained interest in the education in ballroom couple dances as well as the sufficient number of dance instructors leading the lessons that are necessary for the dance lessons to survive. Based on the investigation of archive sources and the analysis of qualitative interviews with twenty active dance instructors, the author of the study reveals the mechanisms of how the dance knowledge is acquired and passed down from generation to generation of ballroom dance instructors. From the year 1836, dance instructors were allowed to perform their professional activity only based on the license; beginning with the year 1924 this licence was conditional on passing an examination before the examination board. In the 1940s, the requirement of professional qualification resulted in the introduction of mass education of the applicants. In 1992, the profession of dance instructor was declared an unqualified trade, and in 1998 the subject “ballroom dance” ceased to exist in the only institution supposed to educate dance instructors. The study brings up different models of the path to becoming a dance instructor within the context of the afore-mentioned changes in legislation and the perception of the social status and prestige of these professionals.
The Motivation to Carry On the “Freelance” Dance Profession in the Contemporary Czech Society
The study deals with the motivation of Czech dancers to carry on their profession. The author focuses on contemporary dance, meaning on the environment outside ballet ensembles, and in particular on the entities founded after the “Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution” in 1989. An exploration about artists’ thinking is based on the qualitative analysis of interviews with the leading representatives in that realm, and on the analysis of already published texts dealing with important aspects of researched persons’ working life. As resulting from the research, the major motivation factor for the dancers is their personal and strong tie to the dance; the drive to carry on the professions comes solely and exclusively from the inner mental world of artists. The dance is considered to be an embodied life philosophy for the respondents; to them, it is a paraphrase of the meaning of life. The investigated materials also point out key personal characteristics which can influence the quality of their lives directly: flexibility, assimilation, self-reliance, self-discipline, and liability.
“Popular Music” in the Network of Cities
The article describes the historical development of growing transcultural connections in the modern human world. Cities played a special historical role in the development of “popular music”. (Modern) cities are interconnected with each other. The city as a place is by that way not an isolated place. The city has undergone a “heterogeneous cultural process”, and currently it is producing “hybrid” musical genres that often lead to similarities with parallel emerged genres of other cities. The genres are becoming to a certain degree more “uniform”. The article is focusing on the interlinking of cities rather than on music in or of urban areas. For the popularization of musical genres (mass) media (man media, print media, electronic media, digital media) are of considerable importance. Finally transnational music industry and translocal networks are forcing global effects. With the digitally based internet a new digitally based force overshadows the dominant role the cities played in the development of “popular music”.