EUROPEANIZATION AS STRATEGY

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Konrad J. Kuhn University of Basel konrad.kuhn@unibas.ch

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This paper examines the epistemological and institutional activities in the field of Volkskunde/folklore studies in Switzerland leading to the discipline’s reformation as “European ethnology”. Drawing on archival materials, the article takes Arnold Niederer (1914–1998) as a starting point by showing how Niederer, his networks and research contexts were involved in the formation of the loose alliance of interests that were subsequently institutionalized. This paper traces the new perception of the discipline “European ethnology” as it draws on early transnational contacts of Swiss Folklore Studies in order to overcome the crisis in which Volkskunde found itself in the 1960s. Europeanization and an orientation toward the present were strategies to stabilize the academicdiscipline but also to establish the discipline in the public sphere.

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