Nation building and long term silencing in Central Europe
(Charles University in Prague)
Paper short abstract:
Considering long-term silences as an analytical category of knowledge and based on an ethnographic research, the aim of this paper is to analyse the many symbolic meanings, uses and processes of silences in Czech society and its relation to national minorities constructions and nation building.
Paper long abstract:
As social theorists we know that the meanings and uses attributed to silence (individual or collective) are neither self-evident nor stable across, or even within, different cultural and historical locations and contexts. Silence, the same as verbal language, it is another way of communication. Considering long-term silence (silencing) as a useful analytical category of knowledge essential to understand nation building and based on an ethnographic research on the Czech Republic some of the topics and questions raised that will try to be answered are: What are the many symbolic meanings, idioms, and cultural processes of silences we can find in Czech society, and its relation to national minority constructions (ethnic, linguistic, religious…) and nation building? In which domains does silence or hidden secrets persist in everyday life: life and death; gift and commodity; kinship and family; gender and sex, ethnicity and race; health and disease; peace and conflict, religion and secularism…; To what extent those silence frameworks are related to inclusion and exclusion acceptance or rejection; connections and relatedness and distance; pure and impure; truth and lies; trust or mistrust; continuity and change; stability and threat; acknowledgements and indifference...? and finally, to what extent, those long-term silences have been strategically used in order to distort a national past and create a current narrative reality in the process of nation building in Central Europe (political instrumentalization of silences).
Silences of/and mobility: towards an anthropology of the unspoken and unspeakable