Issue No. 1, Vol 103 (2016)

Editorial

Introduction
Why anthropology matters
Abstract
This statement was written by the Executive Committee of the European Association of Social Anthropologists following the Association’s meeting and conference in Prague on October 14–15, 2015. The conference, which brought together more than 50 anthropologists from 17 different countries, focused on discussing the ways in which the discipline of cultural and social anthropology can make a difference in Europe today. The meeting, which took place in the shadows of the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, was co-organized by the Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Czech Association for Social Anthropology. It received financial support from the Czech Academy of Sciences’ grant programme Strategy AV21, designed to support public sharing of scientific knowledge

Studies

Making Anthropology Matter in the Heydays of Islamophobia and the ‘Refugee Crisis’: The Case of Poland
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21104/CL.2016.1.03
Abstract
This paper addresses the issue of multiculturalism in Poland, where the reference point is Islamophobia and the attitude towards the Others, especially immigrants in Europe. It is argued that today’s attitudes towards the Others result from the most recent history, marked with the interwar, war and post-WWII nationalisms, seven decades of a relative ethnic and cultural homogeneity of society, recent migration trends in Europe, the current ‘refugee crisis’ and worldwide spreading of a fear of terrorism, overwhelmingly bolstered by the media. These phenomena are scrutinised by referring to the example of Muslims living in Poland. An appeal for anthropological action in social and political domain informed by expert knowledge is advocated.
Public anthropology in the 21st century, with some examples from Norway
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21104/CL.2016.1.01
Abstract
Although there seems to be broad agreement within the discipline about the desirability of a public anthropology, there is less certainty, or agreement, not only about how to achieve it in a responsible way, but also about its very raison-d'être. What should an anthropology which engages closely with non-academic publics seek to achieve? Starting with a historical overview, the article argues that the lack of a clear societal task or assignment liberates anthropology from problem-solving for the state, enabling it to stimulate the collective imagination by making bold comparisons and unexpected conjectures. The empirical examples from Norway show how public anthropologists can successfully mix the ‘light’ and the ‘heavy’ in getting their argument across and raising anthropological issues while also engaging with a broad, non-academic public.
The Defensive Strategies of the Residents of Czech and Ukrainian Origin in Ukraine to the Effects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21104/CL.2016.1.05
Abstract
The text focuses on the theme of health care and amateur treatment in the extreme conditions of increased radiation after the explosion of the nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl power plant. It reconstructs the situation in which the population there found itself from the narratives of residents in the surroundings of the Chernobyl power plant, of which a part resettled in the Czech Republic, and analyses the relationship of the new state of affairs for folk healing. The text indicated the logic of the adaptation mechanisms of the group of people to the new circumstances and their mobilization of the cognitive potential in the conditions in which professional aid and biomedicine, which they commonly used, failed. Other than the information on the applications of specific methods and procedures, the text shows the process, how “human wisdom” on health and disease is formed and adapts to the new, in this case extreme, situation. In an individualized, complex society, these ideas are distinctly private, flexible and situational.
Creating Bottom-up Development. A Study of Self-Organization and the Building of FortuneProsperity by the Torghuts from the Bulgan Sum in Mongolia
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21104/CL.2016.1.07
Abstract
Local communities in non-Western countries are often treated by international institutions as rather passive subjects, which need to be taught by experts and re-organized according to Western socioeconomic models. As a result of such an approach, many development agencies tend to overlook and omit the locals’ own forms of social activity and their ideas of self-organization. In this article I would like to focus on the bottom-up process of change in contemporary Mongolia and the Mongolians’ own, idiomatic ideas and practices of initiating and arranging development. I refer to a research conducted in the Bulgan sum, which is located on the southern slopes of the Altai. I mainly focus on the post-transitional economic activities in Bulgan, which involve collective management of goods and new kinds of business related to cross-border trade. In the study I write about informal networks and self-organisation of Torghut businessmen , but also about the idioms of spiritually-beneficial action stimulating common fate, fortune-prosperity, life energy and potency.
Making Anthropology Matter in the Heyday of Islamophobia and the ‘Refugee Crisis’: The Case of Poland
Abstract
This paper addresses the issue of multiculturalism in Poland, with the reference point being Islamophobia and the attitude towards ‘the Other’, especially immigrants in Europe. It is argued that today’s attitudes towards the Other result from the most recent history, marked by the interwar, wartime and postWWII nationalisms, seven decades of a relative ethnic and cultural homogeneity of society, recent migration trends in Europe, the current ‘refugee crisis’ and worldwide spreading of a fear of terrorism, overwhelmingly bolstered by the media. These phenomena are scrutinized by referring to the example of Muslims living in Poland. An appeal for anthropological action in the social and political domain informed by expert knowledge is advocated.
Public Anthropology in the 21st Century, with Some Examples from Norway
Abstract
Although there seems to be broad agreement within the discipline about the desirability of a public anthropology, there is less certainty, or agreement, not only about how to achieve it in a responsible way but also about its very raison-d’être. What should an anthropology which engages closely with non-academic publics seek to achieve? Starting with a historical overview, the article argues that the lack of a clear societal task or assignment liberates anthropology from problem solving for the state, enabling it to stimulate the collective imagination by making bold comparisons and unexpected conjectures. The empirical examples from Norway show how public anthropologists can successfully mix the ‘light’ and the ‘heavy’ in getting their argument across and raising anthropological issues while also engaging with a broad, non-academic public.
The Defensive Strategies of Czech and Ukrainian Residents in the Ukraine against the Effects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident
Abstract
The text focuses on the theme of health care and amateur treatment in the extreme conditions of increased radiation after the explosion of the nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power plant. It reconstructs the plight of the population from the accounts of residents living near the Chernobyl power plant, some of whom resettled in the Czech Republic, and analyses the relationship of the new state of affairs for folk healing. The text shows the logic of the adaptation mechanisms of the group of people to the new circumstances and their mobilization of the cognitive potential in the conditions in which professional aid and biomedicine, which they commonly used, failed. Besides the traditional practices of folk treatment, innovations based on scraps of information gathered from the mass media, reading, knowledge of a healthy lifestyle, the application of extreme medical cures devised by doctors through experimentation, assert themselves under extreme conditions. Other than the information on the application of specific methods and procedures, the text shows the process of how ‘human wisdom’ on health and disease is formed and adapts to a new, in this case extreme, situation. In an individualized, complex society, these ideas are distinctly private, flexible and situational.
Creating Bottom-up Development. A Study of Self-Organization and the Building of Fortune- Prosperity by the Torghuts from the Bulgan Sum in Mongolia
Abstract
The local communities in non-Western countries approach international institutions often as passive subjects that need to be educated by means of experts and reorganize according to Western socio-economic models (Hobart 1993). Such an approach leads to the fact that many development agencies often overlooked and disregarded their own forms of social activities for local communities and their concept of self-organization. In this article we focus on the process of change in contemporary Mongolia, bottom-up, and on their own, distinctive ideas and practices of the Mongols, in terms of initiating and ensure development. Refer to the research conducted in the administrative district (Simon) Bulgan, located on the southern slopes of the Altai. Since 2012, we conducted field research in today Torgutů. Mainly we focus on the post-economic activity in Bulgan, including collective management of assets (Empson 2014), and new types of business associated with cross-border trade. The study discusses the informal networks of entrepreneurs and their way of building mutually related business relationships. In this context, we analyze the activity group "Torgon Nutag Club", a group founded torgutských entrepreneurs who in her hometown initiated and organized a number of social and cultural events and various celebrations. Most of the club members live in Ulaanbaatar - the so-called "Torgutském city" can be considered one of the main intellectual centers torgutské activity. Particular importance is the fact that Torguti this way not only creates a spontaneous and genuine social organizations but also individual style spiritually beneficial activities. Thus encourage constituents common destiny, wealth, prosperity, stamina, and strength.