Reconfiguring Tradition(s) in Europe

An Introduction to the Special Issue

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Alessandro Testa Charles University

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and
Cyril Isnart CNRS isnartc@gmail.com

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“Tradition” has been a key concept and object of European ethnology from the foundation of the discipline all the way to intangible cultural heritage policies today. A focus has been given to the cultural and social circulations and permutations affecting traditional facts and has shown the plasticity of “traditions” to (ever-)changing social conditions. Understood as “uses of the past”, these mainly political and sociological understandings of what “tradition” means today need to be complemented with a view on the emotional aspects of this peculiarly human way of imagining and experiencing the world. This text introduces three notions which highlight the experiential dimension of tradition: re-enchantment, ritualization, and heritage-making. We hope to forge new paths towards the exploration of all things “traditional” and their cultural dynamics.

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