P40
Intolerable! The circulation of issues and arguments in historical and contemporary debates on contested ethnic caricatures and rituals

Convenors:
John Helsloot (Meertens Institute)
Dagnoslaw Demski (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences)
Location:
Ülikooli 16, 104
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel seeks to contribute to a more general, theoretical understanding of the circulation of issues and arguments in historical and contemporary debates on contested ethnic caricatures and rituals.

Long abstract:

Both in recent and in historical times, many controversies have arisen on the admissibility of stereotyped caricatures and of certain ritual practices. Caricatures in various forms like making fun and mocking the other referred to as undesirable, in the past were necessary part of keeping the other in the proper place, it was a tool of maintaining social order justified by hierarchy and society. On the other hand they could play with the forbidden and unmentionable. Some former easy targets (ethnic and occupational groups, betrayal, women, etc.), have become restricted in character now. Similarly, in the field of immaterial cultural heritage, the moral and legal justification of clothing styles, ritually prescribed ways of butchering, circumcision, the presence of stereotyped others in rituals or commemorations, the use of animals in rituals, are at issue. These debates play a role in identity politics, creating and reinforcing the boundaries between ethnic insiders and outsiders. From a historical perspective, what seems intolerable now, was used freely in other times. What provokes this change of perspective? What yardsticks, human rights, 'tradition', are invoked by contestants to try to decide these issues? 
This panel welcomes papers, both theoretical reflections and empirical case studies, addressing these kind of controversies in the field of caricatures or ritual. Presenters are invited to contribute to a more general, theoretical understanding of these conflicts.