Accepted paper:

Ethnographies as field sites: the ways of dealing with the Soviet time ethnography of Lithuania

Author:

Auksuole Cepaitiene (Lithuanian Institute of History)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses the ways of dealing with the Soviet time ethnography of Lithuania. It suggests treating and 'reading' the ethnographies as field sites, and keeping the aspects of cultural imagination, and culture that is public next to political intentionality, knowledge production, and time.

Paper long abstract:

Although the conceptual beginnings of ethnography and ethnology in Lithuania might be traced to 1810's, and its institutional experience stretches to the first half of the 20th century, the Soviet period appears to be an important one. A considerable amount of ethnographic material was collected at that time, and was placed in the archive of Lithuanian Institute of History, or published. Today Soviet time ethnography seems to be 'out of time', and raises a lot of hesitations for approaching it. But it also holds the questions that worry. Does this ethnography contain the knowledge that is significant today? How to read it if it was done under the dogmas of Marxist theory, strict requirements for ideological correctness, and censorship, and at the same time it was considered holding the potential for resistance to sovietisation? What reality do these researches present? The paper discusses the ways of dealing with the Soviet time ethnographies. It suggests treating these ethnographies as field sites, and 'reading' them across the shoulders of ethnologists like 'thick descriptions' where the meaning is inscribed 'not in conventionalized graphs of sound, but in transient examples of shaped behavior' (Geertz 1973). It also suggests keeping in mind the aspects of cultural imagination, and culture that is public next to political intentionality, knowledge production, and time.

panel P018
What to do with 'old' anthropology? Zeitgeist, knowledge and time