The SIEF working group 'Historical Approaches in Cultural Analysis' aims to discuss how people refer to history to shape their lives and places, using different methods and approaches to understand the construction, production and function of history and histories in premodern, modern and postmodern societies.
The newly founded working group on 'Historical Approaches in Cultural Analysis' presents itself for the first time at a SIEF congress and encourages members and non-members to participate in this panel. The panel discusses how people use history to shape their lives, places and 'worlds' (implying both the material and mental worlds). Our focus will include past as well as contemporary societies. Topics to be considered include, in particular, the use of history for the construction of family or community stories, the way in which people organise their memory around special events or episodes in their different places, history as a place of recreation and entertainment (such as today in theme parks, and in the 19th and 20th world exhibitions) and history as an economic resource for individuals and communities. The main questions are: How do people use history to shape their lives, places and worlds? Which kind of history do they use, and in which ways? What are the functions of history in this context? How do people interact with places and spaces by constructing history, and what are these constructions doing with the places? The panel forms part of a broad research field that includes studies on cultural heritage, 'histourism' and tourism. The special interest of the panel is to broaden this field from the side of 'European Ethnology and to use different methods and approaches to understand the construction, production and function of histories that can, at times, be very different. Members of the working group, but also specialists in other fields (such as material culture, the senses and emotions, memories and memory constructions) are invited to contribute.