rss_2.0Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics of Ethnology and Folkloristics Feed Pregnancy, Childbirth and Childcare Traditions<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article deals with customs and rituals related to pregnancy, childbirth and childcare among Kazakhs at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, and the preservation and changes in these traditions today. The article is based on written data, as well as field data collected by authors from East Kazakh-stan. The customs of the Kazakh people are connected with those of neighbouring people, including the Turkic-speaking people of Siberia and Central Asia.</p> <p>The rituals associated with a pregnancy and childbirth have been divided into three main stages: prenatal customs, childbirth customs, and postpartum customs. We analysed the formation of these customs and their semantic meanings. This helps us to identify factors that have influenced and affected women’s position in the family and in society, as well as those factors that led to an increase or decrease in status. Kazakhs have a particular respect for pregnant women, and the status of women who give birth to sons, or to many children, is especially high.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue“I Had No Childhood”: A Trauma History of Deported Ukrainians from Western Boykivshchyna<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article is devoted to the trauma history of Ukrainians from Western Boykivshchyna, part of the Boykivshchyna ethnographical region situated in modern Ukraine. Operation Vistula (1947–1950) was the forced resettlement of more than 150,000 Ukrainians and mixed Polish-Ukrainian families from the territory of Rzeszów, Lublin and Kraków provinces (Voivodeships) to the western and northern territories of Poland, leading to radical changes within this regional group. The article deals with the difficult experience of the resettlers not only in the context of psychological, but also cultural, trauma. According to the theory of Polish sociologist Piotr Sztompka, three main phases of cultural trauma induced by resettlement have been highlighted and are outlined as strategies to cope with trauma: contemporary resettlers’ preservation of native culture, religion and family tradition, and sharing memories of the past.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Post-Socialist Residential School and the Continuum of Violence<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article* discusses the tolerance of violence. Specifically, it explores the way violence is enacted and perpetuated in residential education in Latvia. The article explores the perception and experience of violence in these schools by combining ethnographic fieldwork and autoethnographic data. Violence within the institution coalesces around three main aspects of experience: violence as necessary for regulating relationships, the embodiment of violence, and the expression of institutional violence. I illustrate how the application of violence is often justified as developing independence in students and by offering opportunities that mask the role of the school system in the reproduction of inequality in society. I conclude with an exploration of how the tolerance of violence arises from reproduction of an unequal social order that is maintained through the duplicitous position of the residential school as simultaneously necessary and unnecessary, closed and open, violent and nurturing.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Overcoming Trauma in an Evangelical Romani Community<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article addresses the role of evangelicalism as a means of overcoming the trauma caused by natural disaster or disease. Using an ethnographic approach, it examines the connection between the beliefs of Roma in the Asparukhovo neigh-bourhood of the Bulgarian city of Varna and the hazards from which they suffered: the flood in June 2014 and Covid-19 during its first wave in 2020. People make sense of tragedy using different interpretations. It is seen as a form of divine punishment, a test for religious people, or it is associated with human negligence. Disaster provokes a variety of reactions among evangelical Christians, ranging from solidarity to distrust. Most importantly, their religious practice provides them with survival tactics and a direction to follow after catastrophe has disrupted their routine.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue“Laughter and Sex Prolong Life”: Current Trends in the Humour Practices of Russian-Speakers in Estonia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>We investigate the humour production, consumption and sharing of Russian-speakers in Estonia, based on the self-reflections and self-perceptions of their humour preferences and other humour-related behaviour. By studying the representation of the humour practices of this important minority community we can get a more complete picture of humour in Estonia. Analysis of survey results reveals that according to Russian-speakers, among their favourite topics were everyday life, and sex- and family-related matters. Visual humour was the most popular form. Respondents mentioned social media as the primary way of sharing humour, but oral transmission remained important as well. The language of the shared humour was primarily Russian, and the content was mainly not specific to the Estonian cultural context. As humorous vernacular expression offers insights into the mechanisms of identity-building and integration, the choice of language and of source can be interpreted as a way to create and maintain a local identity. On the whole, Russian-speakers in Estonia are reluctant to discuss their minority status in a humorous manner.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Impressions: About ‘Vernacular’ and the Other Concepts Relationship Between the Karbi and the Dense Forest Environment: The Role of the Kenglong-Po and Other Entities<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The Karbi are an indigenous community who mainly live in Assam, a state in North-Eastern India. The territory they inhabit includes dense forest, hardly accessible to humans that is said to be populated by different non-human and humanlike entities, such as deities, spirits, and a humanoid figure named Kenglong-po. According to Karbi folk narratives, the Kenglong-po is a jointless entity who used to be a Karbi child or man but was abandoned in the jungle and survived there. The narratives regarding the Kenglong-po are today confined to elders and are vanishing from Karbi folklore due to the disappearance of the dense forest environment. The present work outlines the perception and transformation of the forest environment within the Karbi community through analysis of the Kenglong-po and other entities that are said to inhabit the territory of this indigenous group.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Instrumental Vernacular<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Written as a response to professor Simon Bronner’s critical analysis of the concept vernacular and its uses, published in the <italic>Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics</italic> (2022), the article highlights the functionality of the term ‘vernacular’. It has become a folkloristic category, binding conceptual domains such as ‘folk’ and ‘institutional’, ‘folkloric’ and ‘authored’, ‘oral’ and ‘literary’, ‘belief’ and ‘knowledge’, which have often been set apart in former scholarship. The main focus of the article is on vernacular religion as a concept and methodology, introduced by Leonard N. Primiano in the 1990s, which opened up a new perspective in the study of religions. The article considers ‘vernacular’ as a flexible concept, instrumental in developing folkloristics in its trans-disciplinary dialogues. Projected on the history of folk-loristics as a multilingual field of studies with roots in multiple national, regional and ethnic traditions, vernacular as an outlook enables us to think of folklore as a transcultural concept and disconnect it from colonial legacies.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Uncertainty: The 16th Congress of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (Sief)“That Must Have Been Uncanny!” Experiences of Invisible Others in Contemporary Finland<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article* examines experiences of invisible others considered uncanny in the context of secularity in contemporary Finland. Drawing from experience-centred theories of religion and spiritual belief by Ann Taves and David Hufford, the article analyses how uncanny experiences are differentiated from other kinds of experience and how they are justified as real in first-person narratives written by Finnish experiencers. The empirical analysis distinguishes four characterisations of experience the authors consider uncanny, which also serve to convince them of the realness of their experience. By conversating these findings with studies of experiences deemed religious or supernatural, the article seeks to reinforce dialogue with research on similar experiences that people rather consider in scientific and everyday terms. The article then suggests a framework for <italic>cross-secular enquiry</italic> that would allow scholars in different fields to address differences in how secularity manifests in different locations. Such a methodological framework may create possibilities to juxtapose and compare similar kinds of experience that people may or may not consider supernatural in different secular societies.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Baby on the Track: A Newspaper Legend with Roots in the 19th Century<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In a novel by a Chinese author, Yu Hua, the birth of the main character takes place in a train toilet. He falls down on the track and survives. During the last 30 years news stories with this content have been reported several times. The event is generally said to have taken place in China or India. From a folkloristic perspective the story can be defined as a newspaper legend. Like contemporary legends in oral tradition newspaper legends often are about accidents where babies are involved. As opposed to the orally transmitted legends they generally have a happy ending; they are published as a counterbalance to all the real accidents that daily papers have to report. The oldest version of “The Baby on the Track” was published in 1888 in a medical journal. The author, the famous physician William Osler, had a reputation for being a practical joker, and today it is difficult to judge if his story is based on a real case or if Osler invented it.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Wars for One Life: Verbalisation of Experience During the War<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article examines the oral recollections of Leonida Stanislavivna Panchyk, born in 1939 in Makariv district, Kyiv region, where she has lived all her life. The oral recollections were recorded from February 26 to March 5, 2022, during the beginning of the active phase of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The uniqueness and special value of the presented records lies in the fact that they demonstrate the living life of the Ukrainian narrative tradition. The recorded narrative is a direct reaction to the war. The analysed material and the study of the living situation gave grounds to distinguish the following three groups of reasons that caused the emergence of a memory: characters, events, place. The associative logical sequence of plots in memories is described. All the stories are a child’s memories and primarily describe events that are important to the child. Panchyk’s memories are sustained in one ideological, thematic and genre direction, they are not diluted by other themes or genres.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue as Enemy of the Soviet State: Policies and Implications of Predator Management in Yakutia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article gives an overview of wolf extermination endeavours in Soviet Yakutia as part of state ideologies of human dominance over nature in the process of modernisation of the Russian North. The proclaimed wolf extermination was a large-scale operation planned and launched by state authorities in Yakutia involving bureaucratic, finance and human contingents, as well as the available infrastructure. Based on ethnographic research among game managers, wolf hunters and Eveny and Evenki hunting-herding communities, as well as archival materials on Soviet Yakutia, we demonstrate how state goals to eradicate wolves were sometimes unsystematic in practice due to the misuse of state resources as well as the difficulty in accomplishing this objective in remote and difficult to access taiga landscapes. Furthermore, while being involved in wolf eradication campaigns Indigenous communities also retained their vernacular notions of wolves as non-human persons with whom they were inclined to maintain neighbourly relations rather than pursue extermination.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Insights: ‘Ecosystems’ and ‘Mind Viruses’ in Folklore Research: Does Folkloristics Need Memetics?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper deals with applicability of the ‘memetic approach’ and ‘epidemiology of culture’ in present day folklore research. These theoretical models could be supplemented by certain ideas and hypotheses borrowed from actor-network theory and the cognitive science of religion. The development of contemporary folkloristic theorising could proceed from a new experimental ethnography that would combine memory and narrative studies, cognitive research and the theory of memes with more common or habitual methods of folklore research and cultural anthropology.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Review: Marian Devotion among the Roma in Slovakia to Defeat a Demon: The Function of the Oirat Folk Narrative About Burning the Female Devil<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper introduces the results of a case study that attempts to uncover the functions and probable genesis of a group of satirical tales told by the Mongolian peoples. Based on the example of one of the stories, about Argachi, a Til Ulenspiegel-like rogue character, popular among the Oirat Mongols of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China, an assumption is made about the possible practical function of the narratives, which is that they served to broadcast traditional litigation strategies. A comparison of the Oirat story of Argachi’s victory over the demon with a similar narrative recorded from the Halh Mongols showed that the strategy of behaviour described in the stories allows one to effectively get rid of a malicious, but not very intelligent, mythological character.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Concern for the Invisible: Dwelling with Sensitive Horses and Vanishing Graves in Mongolia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Dwelling well, for the Dörvöd herders with whom I have interacted over the years, involves getting a few things right about the invisible. On the one hand, they need to navigate spaces that are teeming with ‘things’ that not everybody can see plainly, and which are best left undisturbed. On the other hand, behaving properly towards spiritual ‘land masters’ that constitute the places through which herders circulate involves them conforming to a certain regime of marking, i.e. a geography that implicitly values discretion and disappearance. Considering two apparatuses with which the invisible is either taken care of or produced – saddled horses and gravesites –, this paper explores a concern, and a talent, that people in Mongolia exhibit for things that exist by virtue of (dis)appearing.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Cult of the Chinese God Guan Yu in the Studies of Russian Sinologists: Fieldwork Observations, Approaches, Methodology<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper explores materials, methods and approaches used by Russian sinologists to define and analyse the cult of Guan Yu (also known as Guan-gong, Guandi, etc.), a popular god of the Chinese pantheon, revered by Daoists, Buddhists and educated Confucians, and who was also granted a number of imperial titles. Guan Yu was worshipped in late imperial China as god of war and wealth, paragon of moral virtue and loyalty to the ruler. Published and unpublished materials by Russian scholars shed light on beliefs and practices related to Guan Yu and display an array of methods including translation of original Chinese sources, field observations, scrutiny of numerous written and oral sources as well as mythological motifs. The paper displays how various angles and approaches to the same subject – worship of Guan Yu – allow a multifaceted and wholesome vision of this god’s place in Chinese traditional culture.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Spirits in North-Western China: Worship Practices, Origin, and External Relations<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper examines the cult of cat spirits in north-western China and their veneration by the Han Chinese, Tibetans, and Monguors. These spirits are revered as family spirits and guardians of wealth and property, but possess resentful and revengeful personalities. The paper explores the origins of the cult, local worship and summoning practices, protection methods, and links with other vernacular traditions in the region. The study uses a combination of research methods, including analysis of Chinese historical sources, published modern narratives, and the authors’ own fieldwork in Mongolia. The paper employs a qualitative and comparative approach to identify invariant features of cat spirits across various local traditions and highlights the assimilation of the cult into different traditional belief systems where it is enriched with new traits. The paper sheds light on the rich and complex tapestry of beliefs and practices associated with cat spirits. The article suggests that the cult of cat spirits may have had non-Han and non-Tibetan origins, possibly connected to Proto-Mongolic tribes.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue an ‘Ideal Place’ in a Nuosu Origin Epic<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The <italic>Book of Origins</italic> (<italic>hnewo tepyy</italic>) is a major ritual text of the Nuosu, a subgroup of the official Yi (Yizu) ethnic group of southwest China. The narrative, existing in both written and oral variants, is part of a living tradition, especially among priests (<italic>bimo</italic>) and folk singers, in the Liangshan Yi autonomous region in Sichuan province and nearby Yunnan province. The epic narrates the creation of the sky, earth, and living creatures through the frame of genealogies. After an age of scorching heat, life is re-seeded on earth and a descendant of the snow tribes of flora and fauna finds a bride. Many generations later this union results in the marriage between an earthling and the Sky God’s daughter. The tropes of genealogy and migration intertwine in the storyworld as clans descended from the couple seek out an “ideal place” to settle and prosper in the local environment in a pattern that resonates with other epics from the southwest and the Southeast Asian Massif.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue