Slovak Ethnology 3/2016


The autumn issue of Slovak Ethnology is dedicated to 70th anniversary of Institute of Ethnology and its main theme is Current methodological approaches and topics in ethnological/ anthropological research prepared by hosting editors Soňa G. Lutherová, Miroslava Hlinčíková and Ľubica Voľanská.

Content

 
Theme of the issue:
Current methodological approaches and topics in ethnological/anthropological research

Editorial

LUTHEROVÁ, G. Soňa, HLINČÍKOVÁ, Mirka, VOĽANSKÁ, Ľubica: Current methodological approaches and topics in ethnological/anthropological research

Articles

ENDTER, Cordula: Ageing with “Assistance” – The Participation of Elderly People in Projects Developing Technical Devices for Seniors. The Example of Ambient Assisted Living

LUTHEROVÁ, Soňa G.: (In)Visible: Transgender Children at Elementary and Secondary Schools

MIŠKOVSKÁ, Kristína, BUDZELOVÁ, Zuzana, JEROTIJEVIĆ, Danijela: The Possibilities of Using Model Situations (Labels) in the Anthropological Research of Moral Attitudes

FICERI, Ondrej: The Theories of Ethnic Identity by Kanchan Chandra and of National Indifference and the Possibility of Applying Them to the Historical and Ethnological Research of the Population Heterogeneous in Terms of Language and Culture in South-Slovakian Regions and Towns

DITMAROVÁ, Lucia: “This Is No Rumour, This Is the Harsh Reality”. Current Myths and Rumours within the OZ Proti Prúdu Organisation

BÍROVÁ, Barbora: “You’re Such a Charming Girl.” About the Forms of Violence in the Research of Homelessness

 
Essay

VANĚK, Miroslav: Oral History – Listening, Understanding, Searching

 
Interview

BAHNA, Vladimír: Laboratory for Experimental Humanities. Interview with Eva Kundtová Klocová

 
Reserved for

The Contribution of Božena Filová to the Development of Ethnography in Slovakia: 

BURLASOVÁ, Soňa: New Research Trends in the Work of Božena Filová

BENŽA, Mojmír: Božena Filová as Director

SALNER, Peter: Family as a (Personal and Professional) Priority of Božena Filová 

Book reviews

Jana Pospíšilová (Ed.), Karel Altman (Ed.): Děti v Brně. Kapitoly o dětství ve městě pod Špilberkem  (Katarína RABATINOVÁ)

Recenzie bez jubilea – práce Ilony L. Juhász (Marta BOTÍKOVÁ):

Ilona L. Juhász: A harmincnégyes kőnél… aláljelek és halálhely jelek az utak mentén. (Pri cestnom kameni číslo tridsaťštyri – prícestné pamätníky a pomníky tragicky zosnulých) (Marta BOTÍKOVÁ)

Ilona L. Juhász: Amikor mindenki a háborús állapotok igája alatt roskadoz… Erdélyi menekültek a mai Szlovákia területén. Adalékok az első világháborús migráció történetéhez. (Sedmohradskí utečenci na území dnešného Slovenska. Príspevok k histórii migrácie počas 1. svetovej vojny) (Izabela DANTEROVÁ)

Zuzana Profantová: Žili sme v socializme II. Helena. (Biografický prístup v etnológii každodennosti) (Magda PARÍKOVÁ)

 
News

JANTO, JURAJ: Dr. h. c. prof. PhDr. Ján Podolák, DrSc. – 90 Years Old (“I come from peasants, and I´ve been studying their culture and way of life throughout my life...”)

POPELKOVÁ, Katarína: Laudation Day on the 70th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Institute of Ethnology SAS in Bratislava (17 June 2016, Bratislava)

ZVALENÁ, Mária: Report from FOLK EXPO Slovakia 2016 – A New Platform for the Folklore Industry (03–04 June 2016, Bratislava–Rusovce)

KADLECOVÁ, Tatiana: International Conference Between State Plan and the Freedom of Research. Ethnology in Central Europe in 1945 – 1989 (17–18 March 2016, Prague, Czech Republic)

DENKOVÁ, Zuzana: Ethnologist in the Field / Towards the Sources of Knowledge – 20th Year of the Conference Ethnologist and Museum (21 –23 June 2016, Banská Štiavnica)
 

Abstracts:

ENDTER, Cordula: Ageing with “Assistance” – The Participation of Elderly People in Projects Developing Technical Devices for Seniors. The Example of Ambient Assisted Living

 One of the strategies of successful coping with the challenges of population ageing is the development of assistance systems for elderly people. Thanks to them they can live in their own households for the longest time possible. This paper is based on an ethnographic case study and explains the ways elderly people are involved in the development of intelligent assistance systems. On the basis of participatory observation and qualitative interviews, it can be concluded that the participation of elderly people in the designof technological devices often happens at the final stage of approval of technical prototypes, as a result of which the perspective of the testing users cannot be appropriately considered in the prototype design. This means that the appearance and functions of the technical facilities are based mainly on the cultural premises and designers’perceptions of the old age and ageing, and less on the experience and needs of their future users. The contribution observes this tension in relationships through ethnography.

Key words: old age, ageing, Ambient Assisted Living (AAL), users’ involvement, participationin design, Ageskript

 LUTHEROVÁ, Soňa G.: (In)Visible: Transgender Children at Elementary and Secondary Schools

 
The process of gender identity development in children and youth affects their daily
life. With their very existence, transgender children confront the common notions
of the majority about “right” boys and girls. There is a persistent pressure in different areas of social life and at schools they visit on preserving the cisnormative way of life. The study is based on a year-long research of transgender children and youth at elementary and secondary schools in Slovakia, with the support of the civic association TransFúzia. The research material consists of in-depth interviews with ten children and young people and interviews with the representatives and teachers from three selected secondary schools. The research results suggest that the selfrealisation of children in a school environment is influenced by various limits and barriers. These, however, arise not only from the official systemic framework for
teaching and the education process in Slovakia, but also from individual notions
and approaches by school authorities. The personal stories of seeking their own
“self” of transgender children and youth therefore develop in different contexts and
under different conditions. They present not only the specific situation of the members of this special minority, but create the image of the daily life of children and youth in a school environment.

Key words: gender identity, transgender young people, school environment, cisnormativity, applied anthropology

 

MIŠKOVSKÁ, Kristína, BUDZELOVÁ, Zuzana, JEROTIJEVIĆ, Danijela: The Possibilities of Using Model Situations (Labels) in the Anthropological Research of Moral Attitudes

 
Labels describe a fictitious situation which the contact person is supposed to asses
and take a certain position. They represent a suitable complementary method of
qualitative research. While in psychology they can be used as a tool for predicting
behaviour, in anthropology and ethnology they can be used to study norms, perceptions or attitudes. The aim of this text is to show in what way they can be linked to other types of qualitative data (participatory observation, semi-structured interviews) through an example of a long-term anthropological research studying political preferences and moral attitudes. The principal research assumption is based on Jonathan Haidt’s concept, according to which self-declared political preferences (whether an individual is considered conservative or liberal) are reflected in the sphere of moral emotions, in particular in the emotion of disgust. The results of the analysis show that all politically self-declared groups reflect morally unacceptable behaviour. The biggest difference between conservative and liberal contacts was observed with respect to sexuality (e.g. sexual behaviour, registered partnerships). The text points out the methodological limits of model situations: they can problematise the situations which individuals have not faced yet, as a result of which they can judge a fictitious and a real-life situation differently.

 Key words: methodology, model situations, emotions, disgust, labels, political attitude

 

FICERI, Ondrej: The Theories of Ethnic Identity by Kanchan Chandra and of National Indifference and the Possibility of Applying Them to the Historical and Ethnological Research of the Population Heterogeneous in Terms of Language and Culture in South-Slovakian Regions and Towns
 

Slovak and Hungarian social sciences have paid sufficient attention to research on
the transformation of the ethnic identities of people living mainly in ethnically mixed
regions and towns of southern Slovakia. In the course of the 20th century, the affected population switched its ethnic identification codes depending on the assimilation political practices or the ethnic policy of the respective state authorities. The aim of this paper is to point out, through the theory of ethnic identity by political scientist Kanchan Chandra from New York (2012), the possibilities of applying an innovative analytical language to the historical and current research of assimilation processes, which enable a more exact grasping of the mechanisms of ethno-cultural changes in the southern Slovakian region heterogenous in terms of language and culture. The inhabitants of this type of regions and towns were easily ethnicised given their potential to become holders of several types of nominal ethnic identities which were activated (assimilation) or deactivated (dissimilation) depending on the situation in various contexts of the daily public and private life. This “non-national” behaviour of the population (ethnical practice) had a causal influence on the current ethnic structure of the “lost” or “recovered” town, which can be interpreted as an expression of national indifference – the concept advocated by social scientists Tara Zahra, Jeremy King or Pieter Judson.
 
Key words: Constructivist theories of ethnic identity, national indifference, regions
and towns heterogeneous in terms of language and culture, urban history, southern Slovakia

 

DITMAROVÁ, Lucia: “This Is No Rumour, This Is the Harsh Reality”. Current Myths and Rumours within the OZ Proti Prúdu Organisation

The text focuses on the contemporary legends and rumours as a current genre in the present-day society. I see these narratives as texts which can be studied and analysed at several levels depending on the context of narration, and I assume that the social context influences the content and the form of these narratives.

The main aim of the text is to highlight the theoretical and methodological specificities of the ethnographic research of contemporary legends and rumours within the OZ (Civic Organisation) Proti Prúdu and the influences of this specific context on these narratives in the context of the daily life of sellers of the Nota Bene magazine – clients of the OZ Proti Prúdu organisation. Through several examples of narratives, the context of which depends on the given environment, I seek to point out in what way individuals can indirectly react to daily life within their particular environment.
 
Key words: contemporary legend, rumour, context, Nota Bene magazine, OZ Proti prúdu

 

BÍROVÁ, Barbora: “You’re Such a Charming Girl.” About the Forms of Violence in the Research of Homelessness

 

The study focuses on the process of ethnographic field research among homeless
people from the perspective of researcher. It presents methodological approaches
vis-á-vis initial ideas about the field research before going out to the field. The study
covers the problematic aspects of the course of the research, from entry in the field
up to the generation of data in relation to the changing positionality of the researcher. It shows how the relationship between the contact persons and the researcher changes in a given situation on the basis of the different characteristic features of the public and the private space and the forms of power that affect this space. Emphasis is placed on gender issues in the field and on how this fact influences the field research, contacts and the researcher. It describes the various forms and contexts of violence, from symbolic up to sexual ones. The study asks questions about how violence can be minimised during field research, and offers proposals for solutions.

Key words: violence, gender, homelessness, power 
 

 VANĚK, Miroslav: Oral History – Listening, Understanding, Searching

 This article brings a reflection about some contemporary problems of oral history. The author studies the present-day situation where, on one hand, oral history is becoming popular, as people do need stories; on the other hand, they are getting away from the “art” of telling life stories or from being willing to listen to them. The study thus addresses the issue of the hasty nature of this era, efforts to simplify it and the short-cuts in telling stories. The author also deals with some methodological topics which were not accentuated much in the past, in particular the issue of subjectivity, memory and their roles in the shaping of life stories and the issue of the social and political context (past and present) in which interviews were made. He subsequently reflects on the development of oral history in the Central European context and on influences by other disciplines.

The text also deals with certain over-production of oral history at present. The author seeks an answer to several fundamental questions: Does oral history experience a real boom today, or is it just temporary fashion? Is everything that “looks like” oral history oral history in reality? Isn’t it just about accumulation of dozens of useless conversations without understanding this specific source? Does the present threaten oral history and oral historians? If yes, to what extent? What role is played by the political, social and economic situation of the narrators in constructing their own interviews?
 
Key words: digital revolution, the ethics of research, inter-disciplinary approach, oral history

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