SIEF2017 13th Congress: Göttingen, Germany
26-30 March 2017

(Env06)
Ethnocartography revisited
Location KWZ 0.607
Date and Start Time 29 March, 2017 at 08:30
Sessions 2

Convenors

  • Jiří Woitsch (Czech Academy of Sciences) email
  • László Mód (University of Szeged) email

Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

The historical-geographical paradigm was one the most significant in the history of discipline, however, nowadays it is considered having little relevance. The panel aims to critically evaluate history of ethnocartography and to discuss actual projects and possible future of cartographic ethnology.

Long Abstract

The historical-geographical paradigm was one the most significant theories in the history of discipline. It has moved ethnology, especially in the field of study of material culture - and above all dwelling - very close to Kuhnian "normal science" and a plenty of exceptionally influential (including many controversial e.g. Hauslandschaften und Kulturbewegungen im östlichen Mitteleuropa by Bruno Schier) ethnological works were based on cartographic method. Moreover, after the WW II historical-geographical paradigm and ethnocartography contributed a lot to unprecedented networking of ethnologists across Europe culminating in the project of European ethnological atlas. However, at the latest from 1980s, cartographic method itself has been widely disputed and nowadays it is mostly considered having little relevance for the discipline. The panel thus aims to critically evaluate the history of European ethnocartography with the special attention to application of historical-geographical paradigm in the field of study of houses, dwelling and creation of cultural landscape. Above that, we feel the need to discuss also contemporary projects based on revision and re-interpretation of old ethnological maps or sources connected to preparation of ethnological atlases. And last but not least following question should be answered: How "new" technical means (GIS), media (Internet) and approaches (digital humanities) could influence and even revitalize "old school" ethnocartography. Is it possible to interconnect cartographic ethnology and STS studies and ANT as already has been suggested? And generally - is there any future for cartographic ethnology not only in the field of study of material culture?

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Atlas of Latvian culture: an unfulfilled promise of interwar scholarship

Author: Dace Bula (University of Latvia)  email

Short Abstract

The paper sheds light on Latvia’s contribution to the pan-European devotion to folk culture mapping during the interwar period. The national cultural political mission of the atlas project conflicted with the fact that that Swedish ethnologist Dag Trotzig was trusted the leading role in its implementation.

Long Abstract

This article sheds light on Latvia's "extensive and promising" (Erixon 1955) yet internationally still little known, contribution to the pan-European devotion to folk culture mapping of the interwar period - the "golden age" of ethnocartography (Schippers 2004). The project Latvju kultūras atlants (Atlas of Latvian Culture) had a short life: it was launched in November, 1939, announced to an international audience in 1940, interrupted in June of 1940 by the Soviet occupation for a year and resumed afterwards just for a couple of the WWII years when Latvia was under the Nazi rule. Yet, it has left a trace in the history of Latvian scholarship that is to be assessed not only in terms of practical accomplishments , but also with an eye to its political overtones and context of international scholarly exchange. Undertaken by an institution of the authoritarian regime - Rakstu un mākslas kamera (The Chamber of Letters and Art), the project had a cultural political mission that did not comply unproblematically with the fact that Dag Trotzig, a Swedish ethnologist working for the University of Latvia, was trusted the leading role that in turn implied the appropriation of a foreign model and basic working principles, those of Erixon's Atlas över svensk folkkultur.

Critical analysis of Croatian ethnocartography

Author: Ivana Štokov (University of Zadar)  email

Short Abstract

The aim of this paper is to critically evaluate achievements of Croatian ethnocartography. Therefore, I shall focus on the analysis of different ways in which maps construct reality and perform objectivization of knowledge.

Long Abstract

The aim of this paper is to critically evaluate achievements of Croatian ethnocartography. Therefore, I shall focus on the analysis of different ways in which maps construct reality and perform objectivization of knowledge. Furthermore, I will try to point out the ways in which concepts of culture and space are understood in ethnocartography.

Shortly after the beginning of the project of Ethnological atlas of Europe and its bordering countries, the project of Ethnological atlas of Yugoslavia was established under the direction of Branimir Bratanić. Cultural-historical method and positivistic approach dominated the Croatian ethnology until the seventies of 20. century. In that period, the Croatian ethnology developed by Milovan Gavazzi and Branimir Bratanić was almost exclusively focused on cultural-historical research with an aim of investigating the Slavic origin of a cultural phenomena. Researches for the ethnological atlas took place in about 3000 settlements in the former Yugoslavia, using specially designed questionnaires for various topics. The technique of mapping was used for creating ethnological maps which tried to represent the distribution of a specific cultural phenomenon. Such ethnology is ethnology without context, where the data were collected, classified and distributed in space, and in that entire process of research position of humans and their everyday life was largely neglected. At the present time, the use of cultural-historical method and the ethnocartography are almost nonexistent in modern Croatian ethnology. Using a few selected examples I pose the question: Is there a future for (Croatian) ethnocartography outside the framework of cultural-historical method?

Ethnological atlas of Europe: project which failed

Author: Jiří Woitsch (Czech Academy of Sciences)  email

Short Abstract

The paper (1) maps a history of European ethno-cartography with special attention to the ambitious project of Ethnological Atlas of Europe (EAE) promoted in 1966 and (2) analyses and explains the reasons of the later failure of EAE project.

Long Abstract

During the 1960s, international co-operation within European ethnology underwent huge development. This was particularly the result of favourable international political circumstances, increasing efforts of a progressive generation of ethnologists and also due to the institutional and paradigmatic establishment of comparative European ethnology. Many research plans of that time resulted in outstanding and still valid scientific outputs, while others have remained uncompleted. One of the most ambitious projects, which was officially promoted by Ständige Internationale Atlaskommission in 1966, was the elaboration of Ethnological Atlas of Europe (EAE). EAE and its preparation was designed as a masterpiece of cartographic ethnology, which have flourished almost all over the Europe since 1930s. During next decade several international ethno-cartographical conferences took place both in Eastern and Western Europe and unprecedented amount of research and organizational work was done. However project as a whole failed and only one volume (Zender 1980) dedicated to annual fires was published.

The aim of the paper is therefore twofold: (1) To map and describe a history, personal, theoretical and methodological background of European ethno-cartography with special attention to EAE in 1960s and 1970s including its important feature as a research networking activity, which was substantially crossing the limits of "Iron Curtain". (2) To explain the reasons of the later failure of EAE project, which was most likely caused by a multiple reasons: e. g. generation clash within European ethology, political and ideological oppressions in Eastern Europe, late linguistic turn, constructivist offensive and related transformation of ethnological paradigm and focus.

Ethnolinguistics and ethnocartography

Author: Dunja Brozović Rončević (University of Zadar)  email

Short Abstract

At the present time projects on ethnocartography are very few in Europe while on the other hand several international projects on linguistic geography are currently taking place. The aim of the paper is to point to the possibility of bringing together both disciplines in ethnolinguistic cartography.

Long Abstract

At the present time the active projects of traditional ethnocartography are very few in European ethnology. On the other hand, several international projects on geolinguistics or linguistic geography are currently taking place in Europe, bringing together linguists, but also anthropologists from various European countries. My intention is to point out to the possible ethnographic relevance of the most important international projects in linguistic geography that are currently conducted throughout Europe. Naturally, this refers only to lexical components of geolinguistic research, while phonetic, morphological and syntactic levels are of almost no relevance for the ethnocartography. Although today it is the prevailing opinion that the project of European Ethnological Atlas, as well as similar projects on a national level in Europe are largely irrelevant for modern ethnology, the lexical data gathered for those projects could be of great importance for the ethnolinguistic research. Considering the fact that most of the data collected for ethnographic atlases dates from a period of more than half a century, new insight into this data could give us valuable information on language change and language contacts, as well as the influence of new migrations on the ethnolingustic picture of a certain region, and Europe as a whole. Since the topic of the meeting is dwelling and the creation of cultural landscape, the paper analyses terms for the threshing floor and well in various European languages. The aim of this paper is to point to the possibility of bringing together linguistic and ethnographic research in implementing new methods of ethnolinguistic cartography, of which both disciplines could benefit.

Geographic information system of traditional folk culture (1750-1900): an available online ethnological database and research tool

Authors: Daniel Drápala (Masaryk University - Faculty of Arts)  email
Roman Doušek (Masaryk University)  email

Short Abstract

The Geographic Information System of traditional folk culture 1750–1900, developed by Masaryk University, interconnects the maps with the information from the field of traditional folk culture. The information is defined by place (historic land of Moravia) and time (years 1750–1900).

Long Abstract

The possibility to use the ethnocartographic method for scientific purpose, however, was always limited by the static character of the displayed data with no option to adapt them to user´s requirements. Alongside the development of IT technologies, these natural imperfections can be eliminated partially - for example through the Geographic Information System. This can be used to capture, store, manage, analyse and present geographical data including map outcomes. The Geographic Information System of Traditional Folk Culture (1750 - 1900) (briefly Gistralik) is an example for the advanced level in the use of GIS technology in Czech ethnology. It has been created since 2014 at Masaryk University. Gistralik is an on-line accessible geographic information portal aimed at traditional folk culture. It intersects maps with information from folk culture which are defined by places (Moravia) and by time (years 1750-1900). So Gistralik is not an ethnological atlas transferred into its electronical form with static spatial visualisation of documented phenomena. It represents a sophisticated GIS in the form of a spatially displayed database comprising data about documented expressions of tangible and intangible folk culture and the rate of their hitherto procession. So it works not only with the information as such but also with the reference to its origin and it offers the user to exploit the source as to his individual needs. The core idea of Gistralik consists in the concentration of knowledge from diverse source documents (metadata) and with a different rate of accessibility into one user-friendly information "point".

The digital platform of The Polish Ethnographic Atlas: from the project for the accomplishment

Author: Agnieszka Pieńczak (Uniwersytet Śląski)  email

Short Abstract

The Polish Ethnographic Atlas starts long-term documentary works concerning scientific processing and popularization of source materials essential for conducting and developing the research on digital platform www.archiwumpae.us.edu.pl.

Long Abstract

What the article aims at is presenting the specificity of the Polish Ethnographic Atlas in the context of documentation, preservation and popularization of cultural heritage of the Polish countryside. Source materials of the Atlas constitute a unique source of rural history and, in contrast to other ethnographic studies, they comprise the whole territory of Poland. Arduously collected over the decades, the Atlas sources are a precious part of the material cultural heritage. Presenting and popularizing them is needed e.g. by local communities, which turn to their cultural roots to build their local/regional/national identity.

What seems particularly valuable for the representatives of social sciences and humanities are the ethnographic collections which are not widely known in the scientific environment. In order to fulfil the expectations, the Research Unit of the Polish Ethnographic Atlas (PEA) in Cieszyn has undertaken an innovative attempt at scientific processing, digitalization and providing access to some selected atlas materials.

Currently, the Polish Ethnographic Atlas starts long-term documentary works concerning scientific processing and popularization of source materials essential for conducting and developing the research (also into the non-material cultural heritage) on digital platform www.archiwumpae.us.edu.pl.

Tracing the mundane: ethno-cartography and social media methods

Author: Anders Kristian Munk (University of Aalborg)  email

Short Abstract

Social media platforms offer new opportunities for the study of everyday life. At the same time, digital traces on social media are distinctly quali-quantiative, allowing us to think about simultaneously mapping interactions while exploring their substance in depth.

Long Abstract

Efforts to systematically survey everyday life may have fallen from favour in european ethnology, but the ambitions of the historical geographical paradigm resonate strongly in contemporary mappings of online media practices. While cartographically inclined ethnologists may consider this an opportunity to dust off old techniques and explore new empirical opportunities, it is certainly also the case that digital methods could benefit from an ethnological perspective (Munk & Jensen 2014). While digital 'issue mapping' (Marres 2015) or 'controversy mapping' (Venturini 2010) in STS tends to focus on explicit political discourse or arguments, uttered in relation to topical affairs on social media for example, the mundane everyday interactions which are also a defining hallmark of such media platforms receive less attention. Drawing on my experiences from several recent projects at the intersection between ethnology and digital methods I discuss what ethnocartography might accomplish in social media settings. A key problem is the status and role of platforms and their algorithms. The both technically and politically charged media environments in which traces of the 'everyday' are 'left' by the users must thus be critically scrutinised and mapped as part of the analysis.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.