september, 2015

22sep09:30- 11:15Panel 1. Heritage, cultural diversity and mediaIdentity and tradition09:30 - 11:15 Dobra 56/66, 00-312 WarszawaBiblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie

Event Details

Malewska-Szałygin Anna, Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Warsaw, Mass Media and Common-Sense Knowledge in the Villages of the Podhale Region. Lessons for Cultural Diversity Education.

The paper will present the results of the research  project focused on mass media influence on common-sense knowledge of the local people of the villages of Nowy Targ County (Podhale Region, South of Poland). In the course of research project ethnographic fieldwork methods were employed.

A conviction that listeners and viewers are not just passive consumers of media contents, but being active subjects, they appropriate them in the process of reception, is popular among social researchers (e.g. Stuart Hall, Michel de Certeau). While producers have their own “strategies” and control ways and purposes of media content transmission, consumers tend to respond with certain “tactics” (de Certeau). The production of media texts presents a hegemonic voice in the public debate. Consumption remains, though, rather a skilful appropriation and creative use of the images and content imposed by the dominant discourse.

I will answer the fundamental research questions: how do the local village inhabitants adapt resources of knowledge and symbolism imposed by the media to the local common-sense knowledge? How do they use them? How do they appropriate them to their own local discourses? How do they utilize them within different activities? How elements of media content are used within the dynamic process of identity construction (individual, local, regional or national)? What role do they play in establishing power relations within family, local community or the nation? How do media influence and change the so called “local knowledge? In what follows, I will present lessons for cultural diversity education through media referring to key findings of my research.


Costache Dragos C., Stockholm University – Dept. of Social Anthropology, “Romanians are Coming”: The Importance and Importing of Ethnic Conflicts in Problematic Migrant Portrayals.

“The ‘Romanians are Coming’ Channel 4 documentary has sparked considerable controversy and protest among Romanians living in the UK. One of the central tenets of the protest was the fact that the documentary was mis-representing Romanians by unduly focusing on members of the Roma minority. This paper looks at the response of the Romanian community in the UK to the documentary through its use of social and visual media to reaffirm the Romanian identity in opposition to that of the Roma.

Approached from a contextualist perspective the ‘Romanian identity’ seems symptomatic of ethnic competition theory, perpetuating stereotypes present throughout post-socialist Romania, amplified and ideologically re-framed in a host society where the social capital gap between Roma and Romanian is considerably narrower and there is rising anti-migrant hostility.

The construction and presentation of the “Romanian” migrant identity as the “good immigrant”-urban, educated, hard-working and well behaved, a model European citizen- is opposed to that of the ‘Roma’ one – rural, uneducated, lazy and unruly, the very image of the non-european Other.”


Cubero Carlo, Tallinn University, Creative Heritage: The (Re)making of African Heritage in Europe & Vice-Versa.

This illustrated presentation will reflect on issues that have arisen in my production of an ethnographic documentary that portrays the daily life of Burkinabé musicians based in the Benelux region. I intend to make the case for film-making methodologies as a self-referencing process that provides insights into the process by which heritage practices are reproduced, re-constituted, and re-invented in a transnational context. I will specifically address the different ways in which West African and European heritage practices are mutually constituted through a series of appropriations, sonic memories, and improvised crafting.

There are two processes at stake that I wish to focus on. In one instance, I will argue for the creative quality of heritage practices. I will suggest that heritage is not confined to geographical borders, but it is constituted in a series of transnational creative appropriations. In a second instance, I would like to share the peculiar insights that were afforded to me through the film-making process. I will argue for “the fetish” as an emic connection that offers ethnographic insight into the social and material relations that constitute mutually informing heritage practices in a transnational context. I also value fetishism for its cinematic potential and propose fetishism as a means to put to words methodological affects that I have encountered in the process. The paper will draw a parallel between my film-making process and the process by which material objects, specifically the West African/European kolondjo takes on different material shape, constitutes a sonic reference, and acquires semantic meaning.

Leaha Mihai Andrei, CEVA – Center for Visual and Anthropological Education, The Meaning of Cultural Transmission and the Transmission of Meaning

Customs in Transylvania, like any other popular manifestations are often treated like structures in a world with its own rules. But in a non-traditional society, like that of XXI-Century Eastern Europe, ideology and representation play a more important role in the transmission of popular culture, consequently creating a whole new meaning of what tradition is. Therefore, nowadays in a world dominated by social media, visual sharing and economic migration, Romanian customs entered a new era of meaning creation a more performative, visually engaged yet demystified performance of customs.

The paper proposes a visual road trip throughout the few remaining traditional rural customs of Romania focusing on the ways in which their meaning was represented in the past 2 centuries. Evidence of local customs and interpretations appear in the late IXX Century together with the national emancipation movement. For instance, the Astra Group intellectuals reconstructed the Transylvanian Caluseri dance in order to legitimize the Nationalistic Latinist movement. The Romanian National Union in 1918 even had some Caluseri dancing in Alba Iulia which continued to spread around the villages of Transylvania in interwar period. During the communist regime, Ceausescu made an arena from traditional customs having large display of customs in the National Song Competition. The peasant, as the representative of the New Man had to be celebrated. Nowadays, Social Media changed the game constructing a whole new level of cultural transmission with a different meaning which nevertheless pay tribute to the historical construction of meaning and representation.


(Tuesday) 09:30 - 11:15


Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie / University of Warsaw Library

Dobra 56/66, 00-312 Warszawa

Leave a Reply