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Stefan Groth

Language and its relation to culture has been a topic of research in German Volkskunde [folklore studies] from the beginning of the discipline. While dialectological studies, linguistic specificities of local cultures and language in everyday life have been integral parts of Volkskunde for much of the first part of the twentieth century, the discipline saw a shift away from its philological elements towards a social science orientation in post-Second World War developments. During the last decades, the analysis of linguistic dimensions of everyday culture has been on the margin of scholarly activities in Volkskunde. Starting with a historic perspective on the role of language in the beginnings of the discipline, this article discusses the development and decrease of the study of linguistic aspects. It analyses the role of language in contemporary German Volkskunde both in theory and methodology, and offers perspectives on how the discipline could benefit from a renewed focus on linguistic dimensions of everyday culture.

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Migration, Empire, and Liminality

Sex Trade in the Borderlands of Europe

Tracie L. Wilson


In this article I analyze accounts from police and women’s activist documents from the turn of the twentieth century, which present narratives of sex trafficking in and from Galicia, an eastern borderland region of the Habsburg Empire. Both police and activist accounts underscore the image of innocent women forced into prostitution, although police accounts provide more variety and nuance regarding degrees of coercion and agency demonstrated by women. I examine what such narratives reveal about the role of crossing boundaries—an act central to both sex trafficking and efforts to maintain empire. In this context, I consider how the Habsburg authorities coped with and attempted to manage populations whose mobility appeared especially problematic. Although this research draws extensively from historical archives, my analysis is guided by perspectives from folklore studies and the anthropological concept of liminality.

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Pertti Anttonen

All scholarly fields feed on rhetoric of praise and criticism, mostly self-praise and self-criticism. Ethnology and folklore studies are not exceptions in this, regardless of whether they constitute a single field or two separate but related ones. This essay discusses questions concerning ethnological practice and object formation, cultural theory and the theory of tradition (or the lack thereof), cultural transmission, cultural representation, and the ethics and politics of cultural ownership and repatriation. It draws on general observations as well as on work in progress. The main concern is with a discursive move: from tradition to heritage, from the ethnography of repetition and replication to cultural relativist descriptions and prescriptions of identity construction and cultural policy, from ethnography as explanation to ethnography as representation and presentation. In addition, the essay seeks to delineate other underlying tenets that appear to constitute our traditions and heritages - both as strengths and as long-term constraints and biases. Where is ethnology headed in its quest to transcend theories and practices? Less theory and more practice? More theory on practice? Or more practice on theory?

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Land Reclamations

Boundary Work as Production of Disciplinary Uniqueness

Klaus Schriewer

, pointing out the scientific character of social anthropology by marginalising folklore studies – another perfect example of boundary work. Without any doubt, Anglo-Saxon anthropology became dominant in Cold War Spain even if there have been critical voices

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Tübingen — Vienna — Münster

Introducing Elisabeth Timm

Elisabeth Timm

/2012 ( Familienmacher: Vom Festhalten, Verbinden und Loswerden ). In 2011 I was appointed as a full professor at Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster and became the successor to Prof. Dr Ruth-Elisabeth Mohrmann at the Seminar for Folklore Studies/European Ethnology

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Diederik F. Janssen

research, medical history, the sociology and social history of sport, and folklore studies. Yet all contributions admirably show how any strict insistence on the boundedness of these respective fields will fail in doing full justice to the topics discussed

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Minor Traditions, Shizen Equivocations, and Sophisticated Conjunctions

Casper Bruun Jensen and Atsuro Morita

Japan, as we shall see, the precursor of present-day anthropology emerged at the point of convergence between folklore studies ( minzokugaku ), known for its extremely descriptive style, and French social theory ( Aruga 1939 , 2000 ). In time, this

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Conal McCarthy

. With a diverse background in English literature and folklore studies, with a particular interest in Jewish and Hebrew culture and history, and experience curating exhibitions and festivals, she made crucial interventions into the burgeoning field of

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Field Notes and Reading Notes

Studying with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett in the 1990s

Nélia Dias

. 1977 . Fabric of Jewish Life: Textiles from the Jewish Museum Collection . New York : The Jewish Museum . Kirshenblatt-Gimblett , Barbara . 1983 . “ The Future of Folklore Studies in America: The Urban Frontier .” Folklore Forum 16 ( 2

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Demotion as Value

Rank Infraction among the Ngadha in Flores, Indonesia

Olaf H. Smedal

Ethnologiques . Tome II, Ethnologica , 1 : 272 – 277 . Arndt , Paul, SVD. 1958 . “ Hinduismus der Ngadha .” Asian Folklore Studies 17 : 99 – 136 . Arndt , Paul, SVD. 1960a . “ Mythen der Ngadha .” Annali Lateranensi 24 : 9 – 137 . Arndt , Paul