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SIEF2013 11th Congress: Tartu, Estonia.
30 June - 4 July, 2013

SIEF2013: Circulation

Tartu, Estonia; 30th June - 4th July

(P60)

Everyday names, tales, songs and play: continuous traditions in a changing world

Location Ülikooli 16, 104
Date and Start Time 01 July, 2013 at 14:45

Convenors

Theo Meder (Meertens Institute) email
José Rodrigues dos Santos (Academia Militar / Cidehus-UE) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

In daily culture traditions tend to change along with cultural and moral changes in the surrounding world.

Long Abstract

In daily culture traditions tend to change along with cultural and moral changes in the surrounding world. However, some traditions are less variable than others. For instance the giving of family names in certain cultures tends to remain a stable tradition, whereas there is much more variability in the modern retelling of traditional folktales, at least in the western world. Other traditions, like the singing of folk songs or amateur theater may become part of the local canon - some elements may remain stable, while other elements change or disappear over time.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Onomastic circulation and memory: : "traffic-habits" and meaning in "representational economies"

Author: Meltem Turkoz (Bosphorus University )  email

Short Abstract

This paper explores the political economy of naming and surname legislation in Turkey to explore the way in which names as memory objects adhere or detach from their bearers through a process of circulation between individuals and state institutions.

Long Abstract

This paper explores the political economy of naming and surname legislation in Turkey drawing on Debbora Battaglia's notion of the self as a representational economy to explore the way in which surnames as memory objects adhere or detach from their bearers through the process of circulation between individuals and state institutions. As James Scott has noted, surname laws have often created a stock of names that were at odds with local naming practices, detached from the semiotic-chain of daily utterances. Names can both fix identity yet have a capacity to detach from identities. Their meaning is both emergent and potentially denied in what Battaglia has termed the 'representational economy' of the self and state. Yet, in time, names do adhere to their bearers. This paper explores how names become, in Asif Agha's term, "shared by members of a speech chain network," and more importantly, how they circulate between competing speech chain networks. In addition the paper touches upon the relationship of state 'baptismal events' with local events and the channels through which names gain currency in memory.

Damsels in distress in recent fairy tale movies

Author: Theo Meder (Meertens Institute)  email

Short Abstract

In recent fairy tale movies traditionally passive damsels in distress turn into active heroines because western society values independent women in charge of their own lives. The fairy tale/film audience shifts from children to (young) adults.

Long Abstract

In series and movies fairy tales are popular these days. Once, orally transmitted fairy tales were a genre for both adults and children, but by the time the first fairy tale movies got produced, the genre was supposed to be suited for children in particular. It was not until the turn of the century that movie parodies became a hit. Meanwhile, another genre got popular: fantasy. The hype started with Harry Potter and continued with the Twilight saga. In 2011 the director of Twilight produced Red Riding Hood, and introduced a triangular relationship between Red Riding Hood and two boys - just like Bella Swan was torn between two lovers. In Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) another triangular relationship occurs: two men compete for the affection of Snow White. The traditionally passive damsels in distress now take matters into their own hands. The heroines have a mind of their own, and they decide what lover will be chosen. They fight back and resist the dangers and injustice they encounter. The fairy tale thus returns to a (young) adult audience by reinserting some specific features: erotic tension, explicit violence, epic adventure and mature dialogues. Violent heroines wearing armor and leading armies into battle like Snow White, are as rare as Joan of Arc, but such are the emancipated values of our times. As soon as western society decides that women should be independent and in charge of their lives, the fairy tale damsels in distress change into active heroines.

The choral group meetings: from institutional onset to the construction of an autonomous exchanges network

Author: José Rodrigues dos Santos (Academia Militar / Cidehus-UE)  email

Short Abstract

The Choral Groups of Cante Alentejano developed a dense network of exchanges, where each Group invites other Groups for annual “Groups’ Meetings”.

We examine such a network from diachronic and structural perspectives: the process of construction of a Cultural Form and its present internal structure.

Long Abstract

It is rather well established that the concept of "Choral Groups of Cante Alentejano" and the form that we can observe since more than a half century in Alentejo has resulted from a heavy influence of learned social classes and by local and national state institutions. This includes overt action by the Salazar's authoritarian state ("Estado Novo"-1933-1974). Nevertheless, the "Choral Groups" soon appropriated the cultural form as their own thing, and developed a dense network of exchanges, where each Choral Group invites several other Groups for annual "Groups' Meetings". Reciprocity is expected and thus, in more than one hundred Meetings that take place every year, mainly from May (recently extending to Christmas season) to September, we observe an intense circulation of the Choral Groups in the region (Alentejo) and also out of it. These exchanges draw a dense network of relationships where important issues are at stake: a regional identity that is constructed and reinforced through the sharing of a common cultural form (Cante). Such practice of both a common traditional repertoire, and local and regional particularities in the way of interpreting the songs, is the locus to the negotiation of cultural norms (the "good singing"), through constant comparison and rivalry. We wish to examine the rise and functioning of such a network, both from diachronic and structural perspectives: the process of construction of a Cultural Form and its present internal structure. We hypothesize that the network's density is not uniform, showing several poles which emerge from local preferences.

A marginal community in the spotlight: the case of the amateur theatre in Torrão and its relations to power

Author: Sara Diogo (University of Évora)  email

Short Abstract

The relations of power based on the cultural capitals were questioned by Vicente Rodrigues, who presented the "literary canon" to his rural village through several shows, mainly during the dictatorial time. This showed that this people could read the texts through their own horizon of expectations

Long Abstract

We propose to discuss the concepts of center and margin through the analysis of the relations of power among individuals and institutions in a specific case: the amateur theatre in Torrão, a village distant from the most important cultural centers, with a high rate of illiteracy and weak political or cultural expression in that time and region. In spite of these specifications, Torrão was a center of promotion of the theatrical activity and of the literary canon between the 1940's and 1980's.

This dynamics existed because of the action of Vicente Rodrigues, a local writer who wrote several comedies to be shown together with plays from the literary canon. His politically aware actions made those plays reach a public whose constitution of capitals was that of the rural workers and who apprehended them through their own horizon of expectations, analogically incorporating concepts about the "class struggle". Therefore, the work by Rodrigues questioned the existence of "pre-dispositions" in the capacity of absorption of the products from/ to the "scholarly culture", opposing itself to an elitist vision who considered those peasants unable to understand the texts of the canon.

The plays by Rodrigues often had a musical element. Most of those songs have remained in the local canon, contributing to the identity matrix of Torrão. So, when some were mass distributed in CD's, the population of Torrão reacted negatively, feeling that their heritage was being attacked, which constitutes a new relation of power in these dynamics.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.