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SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011

(P323)

Spaces, memories, history, identity

Location Tower B, Piso 3, Room T9
Date and Start Time 20 Apr, 2011 at 11:30

Convenor

Dorothy Noyes (Ohio State University) email
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Short Abstract

This panel deals with the different uses of nation building and their relations to space, using various methodologies, theoretical backgrounds and fieldworks, from the historical point of view on European states to the ethnographic study of today contestation of the states hegemonic power.

Long Abstract

In a context of a globalised exchange of population, cultural goods and representations, the nation building could appear as an old-fashioned matter. In the 19th century Europe, the nation state was a key stone for political power and economical life, linked to a strict definition of its territory and its inhabitants. If the World Wars, the decolonization, and the globalisation seem to have erased the spatial dynamics of the state building, its logics are still alive, due to some new interpretations and uses of the "nations" and "states" building processes.

This panel deals with the different uses of "nation", as a territorial reality and as an "imagined community", calling various methodologies, theoretical backgrounds and fieldworks, from the historical point of view on European states to the ethnographic study of today contestation of hegemonic power.

The case-studies presented here are grounded on the examination of different objects (including memory, history, folklore, rituals, music, museums, sports, TV, tourism, ethnography or architecture) involved in different nation building processes. The authors underline the central role played by the space, as an engine and as a resource, as it was the case in the 19th century.. But they go beyond the univocal "construction" of nation, dealing with the contestation, the negotiation, and the inversion of narration, collective identity and space of the "nation" in order to observe and explain how to take place in a different way.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

History, memory and mediation of the territory

Author: Sonia Catrina (CSIER-Centre for the Study of the Jewish History in Romania & CEREFREA-Centre Régional francophone de recherches avancées en sciences sociales)  email
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Short Abstract

This study analyzes the mediation function of the national territory, which is deconstructed at local level through a process of shaping the "citizen's memory" (Nora) in exhibit-rooms and private micro-museums.

Long Abstract

The purpose of this analysis is to shed light on the mediation function of space in the construction of patrimony by guesthouse owners in Romania. The stake of this study lies in its ability to bring to light the private forms of heritage identified on the dimensions of time and space. We explore the means by which people enshrine the "social memory" (Rautenberg) in a specific area and we analyze the functions entailed from the valorization of exhibit-rooms and private micro-museums by tourist practices. We believe that the "meaning is never given directly, but always mediated" (Parouty-David) by a mechanism (the patrimonial buildings), that is why the symbolic overloading of a certain kind of objects is always made in relation with the Other. Ricoeur considers that the heritage as an "expression of our being in the world" is constructed through the Other. According to Davallon, the heritage has a "social function", being a communication device that involves a relationship to the Other and gaining meaning in a mediated dimension of "putting something on display" for the eyes of the Other. In this sense, the production of heritage corresponds to the construction of shared values during this exchange and to a confrontation with new actors (the tourists) who become involved in this process of heritage production. How is this relationship from Self to Other embodied in heritage projects of territorial identity and how does it reflect a social construction mediated by the territory? - this is the main question of this study.

Music and politics: the build-up to the 2008 general elections in Ghana

Author: Jonathan Nii Barnor (University of Ghana)  email
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Short Abstract

Up to the date of elections in Ghana in 2008, the nation saw vast number of music produced to support parties and candidates win the elction. The paper intends to look at how far this music helps in the win and lose of the respective parties and candidates.

Long Abstract

The world has come to its fullest realization that, it cannot make do without the use of music. Music has played vital roles in and out of so many of the world's endeavours. From sports; as was witnessed in the just ended FIFA 2010 World Cup held in South Africa to even wars and student-demonstrations.

Up to the build up of the 2008 parliamentary and presidential election in Ghana saw a vast number music and musicians at their very best to make sure their favourite candidate wins the election with the very best they can offer by offering their 'careers' as well as advertising what else they can do apart from being in the studios and on concert stages.

With particular reference to the two strong parties in Ghana therefore the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC), one may lose count of the number of tracks that came out supporting these parties to possibly win the race. Chief Dele Modou, a presidential aspirant in Nigeria attested to the fact that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (the flagbearer for the NPP) used music and entertainment in the 2008 election which brought about the different face of politics in Ghana (an interview with Bernard Avleh on citi fm 97.30 Breakfast Show on 4th October, 2010)

The purpose of this research is to access the relevance of these music in the win and lose of the parties in focus consequently the topic;

'MUSIC AND POLITICS'

THE BUILD UP TO THE 2008 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN GHANA

The paradox of nationalism in constructing heritage

Author: Karin Gustavsson (Lund University)  email
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Short Abstract

There is a paradox of how nationalism is constructed. In various countries the same arguments have been used to assert the countries own history and the cultural heritage as unique to their own nation. Similar methods have been used for saving what has been considered as a strictly national concern

Long Abstract

During the first decades of the 20th century investigations of the peasant society took place in Sweden, with a background in the increasing industrialization and urbanization. During this era the life forms in the countryside became interesting to scholars. It was considered a question of national interest to "save" the history and the heritage that was represented in traditions, dialects, housing, farming and all other signs of old-time lifestyle, by making documentations designated for future scholars.

Similar works took place in several European countries, and the encouragers in different countries were connected in reading each other's works, meeting at conferences and in fieldworks. In Sweden the authorities affirmed the investigations, considered particularly important for the national identity. Know thyself was the motto for the grand museum for cultural history - Nordiska museet - in Stockholm founded in the late 19th century.

I have been investigating the relations between two encouragers, Sigurd Erixon in Sweden and Halvor Zangenberg in Denmark, with the aim to analyze how their projects were strictly national and important in the process to form a national identity, and in the same time, carried on in a similar way in the two countries.

How was the understanding of what is a national heritage affected by the fact that the ideological thoughts and methods used for constructing heritage was formed in a context of national plurality? Can a national collective memory of history be expressed as cultural heritage while the presumptions are similar in several countries?

Recordings from WWI war prisoners as a representation of Estonian singing culture

Author: Janika Oras (Estonian Literary Museum)  email
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Short Abstract

This presentation analyses song recordings made with Estonian war prisoners in 1916–1917, preserved in Berlin and in Vienna. Considering the unusual situation of the recording and the social status of the informants, different questions about the factors influencing the results of the collaboration of the collectors and informants could be posed.

Long Abstract

This presentation analyses recordings made with Estonian war prisoners in 1916-1917, preserved in Berlin (Lautarchiv and Phonogrammarchiv) and in Vienna (Phonogrammarchiv). Although the collections are small, they form a unique representation of the early 20th century Estonian singing culture. The cultural-historical meaning of the colletions emerges when being compared to the period collection of Estonian Folklore Archive's sound recordings and to the commercial recordings from the edition Estonian Gramophone Records 1901—1939.The war prisoners' song repertoire and their singing style partly coincide with the latter, forming a bridge between the ideology of founding a national folklore archive and the esthetic preferences of a current music consumer.

Concidering the unusual status of a war prisoner and the repertoire recorded from the performers, questions arise about the factors influencing the collaboration of collectors and informants. The collectors have been guided by the general comparative musical theory of the early 20th century and their approach to sound recordings, being affected also by the ideological background of recording war prisoners. I'll be interested in the group specifics in the repertoire performed, to discern whether the choices made were influenced by their subaltern position and goals.

Towards collective remembrance: the Atlantic Wall as places of transition

Author: Rose Tzalmona (VU University / TU Delft)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper intends to present the Atlantic Wall as cultural and collective spaces which depend upon recalling their forgotten history, while using its remains as catalysts for future regeneration in order to redefine these public spaces as places of collective remembrance.

Long Abstract

The Atlantikwall, a series of 12.000 bunkers constructed along the European Atlantic coastline (1942-1945) to protect Germany from an impending allied invasion, provided the Nazis with the opportunity to redefine German identity by manipulating recognisable images from the past and reapplying them to propagate their racial ideology through architectonic interventions.

The central question to this paper addresses how the Atlantikwall, which was conceived as a series of constructed buildings situated in the public realm, can be (re)defined and understood in terms of cultural (iconographic, mythic, symbolic) and collective (social, historical, commemorative) space that are woven together by forgotten narratives.

Cultural space as represented by the Atlantikwall was considerably altered after the war. The process included the removal of iconographical symbols (the bunkers) from the coastline allowing for the narratives to disappear from the public realm without leaving visible symbolic traces of the war for future generations.

Today, the territory of 'collective amnesia' is slowly being rediscovered as societies begin to search for remnants of their buried collective history. Collective space includes a network of organized and designed public spaces on which social interaction takes place. The relationship between 'collective amnesia' and the collective space it occupies is traced by a parallel examination of how collective memory as well as neglected public spaces evolved over time. This will ultimately lead to creating a strategy by which the sites of 'collective amnesia' (as represented by these bunkers) may be used as instruments in the (re)construction of new narrative spaces leading to their transformation as sites of 'collective remembrance'.

War memorials in Greek countryside: their contribution to the syntax of the cultural space

Author: Christos Bakalis (University of the Aegean)  email
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Short Abstract

Memorials constitute elements of cultural space wherever these have been placed. They are also factors that shape the spatial and social environment of the settlements by carrying variant symbolisms. This paper examines the historical and contemporary presence of memorials in Greek countryside. An anthropological and sociological approach will follow.

Long Abstract

Memorials contribute to the construction and reproduction of collective conscience and memory. They also participate to the shaping of built environment in villages, towns and cities. Periodically they become places of rituals.

In a back stage they represent needs of eras and societies / communities. Nevertheless memorials could be considered as actors in the public sphere of social reality, as well as parts of semiotic systems. In addition, they constitute both matrix of significances and distribution nodes of values; connected with variant cultural networks.

Here, the aim is a theoretical approach of the role of memorials in the cultural context of local societies. Within this framework, terms and methods are borrowed from scientific fields of cultural memory (the construction and reconstruction of collective memory, M. Halbwachs), symbolic interactionism (G. Mead), cultural communication (E. Leach), material culture (B. Latour), semiotic (F. Saussure), and urban sociology (G. Simmel).

The major categories of memorials that are located in Greek countryside will be presented. Also, some examples of memorials of northeastern Aegean islands will be given. Relatively to their nature, the initial concept, the construction and the use will be examined. Specifically, places, shapes, symbolisms and rituals will be under consideration. Finally, some conclusions for their role within cultural reality of residents will be given.

Revising history, constructing the place: the creation of new cultural practices in the Croatian village of Zrin

Author: Sanja Loncar (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb)  email
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Short Abstract

The paper examines ways in which the revising of history and the construction of places, by focusing on certain historic episodes, influence people's attachment to a place and the creation of new cultural practices.

Long Abstract

The paper examines ways in which revisions of history and the construction of places influence people's attachment to place and the creation of new cultural practices. It is based on fieldwork and the analysis of publications related to the village of Zrin (Central Croatia, Banovina region). The focus is on several historic episodes in the course of the Middle Ages, the Second World War and the Croatian War of Indepedence (1991-1995), observed from the postsocialist perspective. The name Zrin is connected to the noble family Zrinski, whose fate is taken as a reflection of the turbulent Croatian history in the public discourse. The village was destroyed in WW2, after which the surviving Croatian inhabitants were relocated to other parts of the country where their descendants still live. Every year since 1996 the prosecution of Croats is commemorated by a pilgrimage. The question raised is: in which moments and why do communities feel a need for the creation of such places, and how do these places influence their lives? What practices can "fill" these locations with historical meanings and simbolism and in which circumstances this occurs, thus turning these places into carriers of the "burden of the past"? In the paper I show how the importance of establishment of physical contact to this kind of place affect the creation of new cultural practices. I analyze different reasons and ways of the attachment of individuals and communities to such places.

Experiencing preserves: new models of locality consumption in rural Transylvania

Author: Monica Stroe (National University of Political Studies and Public Administration Bucharest)  email
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Short Abstract

The research focuses on the globalizing impact of the international ‘identity entrepreneurs’ and the global knowledge fluxes involved in shaping the food and agritourism market in rural Transylvania: the production and consumption of locality and landscape, models of negotiating authenticity.

Long Abstract

Throughout this paper I reflect on the transformations occurred in the case of Tarnava Mare region, a former Saxon area in rural Transylvania, currently an emerging tourism and food brand correlated to wider patterns of consumption of place, constructed for an urban, cosmopolitan audience.

The research focuses on the globalizing impact of the 'identity entrepreneurs' and the global knowledge fluxes involved in shaping the food and agritourism market: the production and consumption of locality and landscape, models of negotiating authenticity.

The branding and consumption processes are based on global policies and practices in local development, tourism, gastronomy (e.g. the Slow Food Movement, UNESCO) and are put forward by global actors: in 1997, Prince Charles of Great Britain first came to Transylvania in search of his own heritage in the Saxon region. His further advocacy and entrepreneurial initiatives of organic agriculture and rural tourism inaugurated and legitimized this model of local development. The local branding process aggregates an international network of stakeholders around the rural Saxon region, triggered in a national context of public agenda debates on local development, decentralization, but also national identity, country branding (the post EU accession years). It also activates a rhetoric engaging topics such as sustainable development, ethnicity politics, food-related policies and practices (terroir/organic/ homemade/traditional.

On the basis of ethnographic work I also describe the participatory and sensory means of consumption of heritage.

Cognition, emotion, and the dynamic structures of national identity

Author: Sven Ismer (FU Berlin)  email
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Short Abstract

A theory about connecting lines between collective emotions, football, and the construction and reinforcement of national identity will be presented and an approach to explore these assumptions in provided exemplary data is outlined.

Long Abstract

"How do people become national?" once was asked by Catherine Verdery. I will offer an answer to this question by connecting classic trains of thought like Emile Durkheims notion of collective effervescence instigated in rituals with contemporary debates in cognitive sociology in a first step. Within the second part I will propose a frame to analyse relevant data against the outlined theoretical background.

I will argue that football is central for the dynamic reproduction of national identity in Germany in two ways. On the one hand it provides possibilities to experience collective emotions of belonging which authenticate the imagined community of the nation in a very basic sense. On the other hand the state of high emotional arousal promotes an atmosphere in which information about the in-group as well as the out-group is more likely to become a shared meaning.

TV-coverage about big football tournaments provide a rich database to analyse these shared meanings and in so doing, expose the dynamic structures of national identity. Examples from the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany - a tournament which was said to have caused lasting effects on German national identity - will be used to reveal the underlying media-based ritual structures as well as the resulting `mindscape´ (Zerubavel) of national identity.

Challenging the nation: France and colonial history

Author: Christelle Gomis (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)  email
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Short Abstract

Over a decade, French colonial history and its moments of violence have been repeatedly "(re)discovered" and "exposed". I aim to show how in France the recognition of colonialism's racial histories challenges dominant "white" narratives.

Long Abstract

Over a decade, French colonial history and particularly its moments of violence have been repeatedly "(re)discovered" and "exposed". Films such as Indigènes (2006) or more recently Hors la loi (2010) provoked intense debates. I aim to show how in France the recognition of colonialism's racial histories challenges dominant "white" narratives.

Collective memory is essential in the construction of French nation. But its building rests on the neutralization of the French colonial past, from slavery to the second French colonial empire during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

An analysis of the debates in the public sphere but also in the academic sphere of historians over these histories reveals how racial components of French colonialism are assumed as present but the racial coordinates of empire never constitute matters of investigation. The different uses of the colonial pasts reflect new political intentions of shaping the French nation, either as exclusively white or multiracial. They produce rival identities based on race and constitute whiteness as the top of the social hierarchy.

The example of the French commemoration of slavery shows how associations and politicians use history to assign places and produce national consensus. Collective memory reproduces the racialization of French intern frontiers.

All roads lead to Guča: modes of representing Serbia and Serbs during the Guča Trumpet Festival

Author: Marija Krstic  email
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Short Abstract

In this paper I research identity politics of one of the largest music festivals in Serbia, the Dragačevo Trumpet Festival.

Long Abstract

In this paper I research famous Serbian music event, the Dragačevo Trumpet Festival, better known after its host village, Guča, where it is annually held from 1961. This trumpet festival, with its folk and Serbian tradition pattern, offers an insight into understanding national identity practices of the 21st century Serbia. In the context of wider understandings of nation and state creation processes, the festival represents a unique meeting point of different cultural strategies, political options, and national identity performances. Taking into account that Serbia is "on its way" to the European Union, this folk festival re-enacts nation-building practices well known throughout Europe in the 19th century. The dominants style of imagining nation in Serbia is marked by a union between rural, folk and nationalist tendencies and conversely, urban, modern and European tendencies. Thus the festival presents its folkness as an attraction connected with the inflow of the younger generation from the West. I draw on a wide range of sources from history, sociology and social anthropology. In addition, in my research I also use photographs available on one of the Guča websites, www.guca.rs, in order to question how the festival's photographs visually represent the Serbs? The main goal of the paper is to explain and show how Guča festival found its place in modern Serbia in spite of its rural, folk, barbarian and sometimes nationalist representation.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.