Studies on the Subject of “Humans Landscapes”
Reclamation in the Czech Lands from the Mid-19th Century to the End of the 1950s (Libor Svoboda)
Alleys and the Participant Reflections of Their Significances (Using the Example of the Contest for the Alley of the Year) (Klára Ondrigová)
Public Goods in an Ethnological and Evolutionary Anthropological Perspective (Michal Uhrin)
Boundaries of Other Worlds: Transitional and Representational Functions of Czech Theatre Curtains (Václav Hájek)
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Reclamation in the Czech Lands from the Mid-19th Century to the End of the 1950s
Between 1948 and 1989, large-scale drainage and improvement works were carried out every year in the former Czechoslovakia, which ultimately completely changed the face of the Czech Lands’ landscape. Streams, rivulets, baulks, field shrubs, dirt roads, “useless” meadows and pastures, small ponds, wetlands and swamps disappeared. In its first part, the study focusses on a brief description of the development and characteristics of land reclamation in the Czech territory from the 19th century to 1948. In its second part, it pays attention to a quite short but - from the point of view of the development of land reclamation works in the former Czechoslovakia - a very important period from 1948 to the end of the 1950s. During this time the Czech countryside experienced enormous and revolutionary property and social changes as a result of totalitarian communist policies. The private sector was, with few exceptions, liquidated, agricultural production was controlled, centralized and gradually industrialised. The way was opened for massive amelioration interventions, which became one of the symbols of the Communist regime's rule over the Czech and Moravian countryside, was open.
Alleys and the Participant Reflections of Their Significances (Using the Example of the Contest for the Alley of the Year)
The Czech Republic is criss-crossed by thousands of kilometres of alleyways, which have been part of this territory since the late Middle Ages and which inseparably co-create the local typical landscape character. Their functions and significances make them an element that is important not only for the countryside, but also for people themselves. The nationwide survey “The Alley of the Year”, organised by the Czech non-profit organisation Arnika since 2011, reveals how the alleyways are currently perceived by individuals. The contest offers an exploration of the subjective relation of specific groups of the public to the alleyways. The article focusses on the analysis of particular nominations, meaning on the texts giving reasons for which specific local alleyways entered the contest. Using the analysis, the significances are identified which the alleyways have for nominating individuals and communities. The treatise defines seven basic identified groups of significances (historical and cultural; aesthetical and landscape; natural; personal; psychological; social; spiritual), which are thoroughly deals with.
Public Goods in an Ethnological and Evolutionary Anthropological Perspective
Human life is characterized by cooperation of individuals but also by cooperation in large groups. People cooperate in pursuit of common goals and carry out activities beneficial to both the individual and the group. The issue of public goods, meaning resources that can be potentially used by entire society or a group within society, has been systematically studied since the sixties of the twentieth century. Since there is a risk of free-riding on and over-exploitation of public goods, there must be social mechanisms, rules, and norms to regulate their use in any society. In this text, the author draws attention to the analysis of public goods and common-pool resources from a broader evolutionary anthropological and ethnological perspective, focusing on local public goods and common-pool resources. Evolutionary anthropology provides insightful theories from which empirically testable hypotheses for ethnological research can be derived. The author concludes that long-term ethnographic research combined with the theoretical concepts of evolutionary anthropology can effectively contribute to the understanding of successfully managed and administered public goods and common-pool resources.
Boundaries of Other Worlds: Transitional and Representational Functions of Czech Theatre Curtains
Painted stage curtains from the Czech territory represent a great convolute of specific artistic, media and ideological expressions. A number of pictorial and visual strategies are repeated and varied here over long periods of time – for example an appeal to the audience through stereotypical compositions, recycling of popular pictorial prototypes, hierarchical relationships between the profane and the seemingly transcendent environment, etc. This text is based on two cross-sectional publications (Painted Stage Curtains from the Czech Lands, Volume 1 and 2), in which a large amount of hitherto overlooked artistic material is collected. In the case of theatre curtains, the formal image strategies played a key role, through which this image apparatus influenced the audience. Methods of appealing to the audience and their illusory drawing into the action, and the strengthening of their attention are found on curtains in repetitive forms from approximately the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. We analyse several typical visual tools using the examples where it is not so much the authorship and aesthetic qualities that are important, but rather the typicality that is characteristic of the given period and the given medium.