Ethnophaulisms: stereotyping the familiar
Olga Orlic (Institute for Anthropological Research)
Paper short abstract:
This paper discusses how inhabitants of the island of Korčula (Croatia) use a special kind of stereotypes – group nicknames (ethnophaulisms) for the inhabitants of other settlements in order to differentiate local groups, coexisting on this rather small territory.
Paper long abstract:
This paper presents a part of the research carried out on the island of Korčula (Croatia) among contemporary identification processes among its inhabitants. Having in mind the premise about the importance of Other(s) in the process of the construction of one's own identity (Barth 1969), one of the aims of this research was to find out who the "significant Other(s)" for the inhabitants of the island of Korčula are and how they are represented. The ways of representation are very different but usually involve constructing the reality, particularly throughout language (Berger&Luckmann 1966; Joseph 2004). Stereotypes are inevitable part of these processes (Lippmann 1922; Triandis&Vassiliou 1967). The research was carried out by using qualitative methodology (semi-structured interviews) and ethnographic approach (observation and participant - observation). The results showed that several types or levels of Others co-exist on this rather small island and that a very elaborate way of marking this "otherness" i.e. representing mutual differences still have been in everyday use. In addition to usual stereotypisation of Other(s), based on speech or mentality, a special type of stereotypes, group nicknames (i.e. ethnic slurs) for inhabitants of each settlement will be discussed in this paper. Although these ethnophaulisms might seem unimportant in everyday island life, the research' results show that stereotyped representation(s) of self and other(s), coded in just one word - nickname - have an important purpose as well as a certain value in globalized world; they are far from being, as one of the interlocutors said, "just part of folklore".
Language, linguistics, and culture