Issue No. 3, Vol 103 (2016)

Studies

The role of anthropology in developing the “culture concept” in public discourse
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21104/CL.2016.3.01
Abstract
The culture concept lies at the heart of anthropological theory and is also central to public discourses regarding identity and social integration of migrants, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and other cultural ‘Others’ who seek a place in contemporary European societies. This paper interrogates these discourses, exemplified through discussions about the integration of Romanian Roma migrants in France and suggests that popular ideas about culture do not correspond to the relativist and historically contingent stance adopted by most anthropologists. Instead, discriminatory positions toward minority groups are sometimes justified using an outdated cultural evolutionary model; attempts to challenge this model, however, result in the perpetuation of this same ‘primitive’/’civilized’ distinction. The paper discusses how anthropological perspectives on culture are viewed with suspicion by researchers in the activist community and by some scholars. The paper poses the question how can contemporary anthropological thinking about culture contribute to these discourses, and suggests ways that anthropologists can make their ideas about culture more accessible and relevant to public and other scholarly perspectives.
Intersections of Literature and Ethnography in the United States
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21104/CL.2016.3.03
Abstract
This article argues for the need of a rapprochement between scholars who study ethnographic and literary ways of knowing minority communities that have limited access to self-representation. While in the past literary critics and cultural anthropologists tended to emphasize their distinctive methodologies and conventions of writing about such communities, this article draws on the work of postmodern anthropologists, critical theorists, literary critics, and historians to demarcate the common ground between ethnography and literature. Through the efforts of Clifford Geertz, James Clifford, Mary Louise Pratt, George Marcus, Michael Fisher, and many others, cultural anthropology has, at least to some extent, come to terms with the limitations of participant observation and the textuality of its product. However, a parallel reckoning has not taken place within literary studies. It is the goal of this article to push the process a step further by emphasizing the mutual indebtedness of literary and ethnographic writing.
„Etnologie je filozofií budoucnosti“. R. F. Kaindl a pozapomenuté počátky evropské etnologie
Abstract
The study is devoted to the contribution of the Austrian ethnographer and historian R. F. Kaindl to the study of East Slavic populations and, more generally, its methodological and theoretical understanding of ethnological research. The interpretive framework for assessing Kaindl’s works of the late 19th and early 20th centuries is represented by European Ethnology (Ethnologia Europaea), which is understood herein as a distinctive scholarly tradition of studying humans and human societies. Kaindl’s contribution to the development of the European comparative ethnology included his empirically oriented ethnographic studies, through which he uncovered the fascinating world of Eastern exoticism for Central European readers, and his anticipation of the future development of European Ethnology as such. This contribution can be considered a generalization of his field experience. The main part of the paper is devoted to this characteristic of Kaindl’s scientific activities.
Levels of modern-era Sorbian ethnic identity
Abstract
The text concentrates on issues concerning the beginnings, development and current situation of the Sorbian ethnicity and ethnic identity in the region of Lusatia (Germany) from 1800 to the present. The given phenomenon is observed throughout the course of the 19th century which: 1) accelerated the transformation of Sorbs into the modern era ethnic group, enabling them to undergo a relatively successful “national revival”; 2) the same period, however, saw the acceleration of the language and ethnic assimilation (Germanization). Furthermore, attention is paid to the development, specifi c features, quests, possibilities and limits in the fi eld of Sorbian ethnic consciousness in the 20th and 21st centuries; emphasis is laid on the present-day situation. Closer analyses and ensuing interpretations focus on social and psychological factors of the given problem range, as well as on political connotations. A dichotomous situation between the primordial and (post) modernist approaches to understanding ethnicity in Lusatia is also commented on in detail. Finally, the role of Sorbian elements as the common denominator of Lusatian regionalism is dealt with as well.
K otázce etnické identity Rusínů v České republice
Abstract
Příspěvek ukazuje na postavení rusínské národnostní menšiny v skladbě stávajících národnostních menšin České republiky. Soustřeďuje se na vybrané aktivity, které mají v současnosti vliv na vytváření konstrukce národnostně menšinové identity. Osvětluje to na příkladu oživení spolkového života Rusínů v Praze. Podnětem je skutečnost, že vedle generačně starší členské základny Společnosti přátel Podkarpatské Rusi či dalších spolků vznikla v roce 2011 nová organizace Rusíni.cz – Rusínská iniciativa v ČR, jejíž členskou základnu tvoří příslušníci mladé generace Rusínů, imigrantů z východního Slovenska. Tato organizace si stanovila za cíl aktivně rozvíjet činnost v oblasti komunitního života Rusínů v Praze, uchovávat a propagovat kulturní tradice Rusínů a informovat českou veřejnost o Rusínech. Vlastní činnost směřuje k rozšíření programů kulturních a společenských akcí, přednášek, besed, filmových projekcí apod. Iniciativa se vyznačuje také tím, že na sociálních sítích rozvinula komunikaci mezi příslušníky rusínské národnosti. Proces národnostně menšinové identity Rusínů vychází hlavně ze sebevymezování vůči Ukrajincům, akcentování rusínských tradic a svébytnosti menšiny.
The role of anthropology in developing the “culture concept” in public discourse
Abstract
A concept of “culture” lies at the heart of much anthropological theory and is also central to public discourses regarding the identity and social integration of migrants, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and other cultural ‘Others’ who seek a place in contemporary European societies. This paper interrogates these discourses, exemplified through discussions about the integration of Romanian Roma migrants in France today, and suggests that popular ideas about culture do not correspond to the relativist and historically contingent stance adopted by most anthropologists. Instead, discriminatory positions toward minority groups are sometimes justified using an outdated cultural evolutionary model; attempts to challenge this model, however, may result in the perpetuation of this same ‘primitive’/’civilized’ distinction. The paper also discusses how anthropological perspectives on culture are viewed with suspicion by researchers in the activist community and by scholars in other disciplines. The paper poses the question, therefore, of how contemporary anthropological thinking about culture can contribute to these different discourses, arguing that anthropologists need to make their ideas about culture more accessible and relevant to public perspectives.
Intersections of Literature and Ethnography in the United States
Abstract
This article argues for the need of a rapprochement between scholars who study ethnographic and literary ways of knowing minority communities that have limited access to self-representation. While in the past literary critics and cultural anthropologists tended to emphasize their distinctive methodologies and conventions of writing about such communities, this article draws on the work of postmodern anthropologists, critical theorists, literary critics, and historians to demarcate the common ground between ethnography and literature. Through the efforts of Clifford Geertz, James Clifford, Mary Louise Pratt, George Marcus, Michael Fisher, and many others, cultural anthropology has, at least to some extent, come to terms with the limitations of participant observation and the textuality of its product. However, a parallel reckoning has not taken place within literary studies. It is the goal of this article to push the process a step further by emphasizing the mutual indebtedness of literary and ethnographic writing.

Forum

Čím vším může být sociokulturní antropologie
Abstract
První systematické snahy prosadit sociokulturní antropologii na české akademické půdě jako svébytný obor se objevily až po roce 1989. Tyto snahy se však nesetkaly s úspěchem, což motivovalo celou řadu autorů k reflexi neuspokojivé situace sociokulturní antropologie v Čechách. Z těchto reflexí vynikají zejména příspěvky od Zdeňka Nešpora a Marka Jakoubka. Ve svých příspěvcích se oba dva snažili sociokulturní antropologii přesně vymezit a definovat a zabránit tak některým nedorozuměním. Tento příspěvek je snahou o polemiku s oběma autory. Základní tezí je, že pokud přijmeme vymezení sociokulturní antropologie nabízené oběma autory, připravíme se paradoxně o to nejlepší, co sociokulturní antropologie nabízí.

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