Accepted paper:

Agricultural Rituals: Extinct or Development Phenomenon?


Saša Poljak Istenič (ZRC SAZU)

Paper short abstract:

Numerous connections between ritual and economy will be highlighted through the case study of transformation of rituals connected with (manual) agricultural work. It is argued that survival of such rituals depends mainly on their potential for sustainable development and identity politics.

Paper long abstract:

After the Second World War, political, ideological, economic, social and cultural changes influenced economic and social restructuring, different employment challenges and nature of work, but also rituals connected with working itself. Presumably most visible changes occurred in the primary sector, where inhabitants started to abandon agriculture to work in the industry and other non-agrarian businesses. Most rituals connected with agricultural (manual) work died out along with the economic and social base of such activities, but some of them modified and survived until present, either in families or local community. Nowadays, farmers are facing new challenges in selling produce and products; selling at public events has become ritualized and therefore gained different development potentials. In connection with the notion of rural idyll and heritage tourism, ritualization of everyday activities (e.g. selling) has been used as a strategy for improvement of living: increasing family income, achieving recognition of the farm, setting local area and community on a tourist map etc. Traditional and new agricultural rituals became a means for sustainable development and identity politics; they add to regeneration, strengthening or development of local economy as well as they affect sense of belonging and integration of local population. Through the case study in the rural surroundings of Slovene's capital, the paper will try to show how economic changes are reflected in ritual and how ritual is reflected in economy; and in addition it aims to shed light on numerous connections between ritual and economy.

panel W120
Economy and ritual