Accepted Paper:

Macedonian Poreche between idyllic imaginaries and post-socialist realities: reflections from an ethnographic revisit  


Karolina Bielenin-Lenczowska (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

Poreche is a rural region in Macedonia. Since the collapse of Yugoslavia people have encountered economic difficulties and have felt marginalized by political institutions. Along with narratives about everyday problems go idyllic imaginaries of the beauty of the region and its "Macedonianess".

Paper long abstract:

Poreche is a mountainous rural region in the Republic of Macedonia. In 1930s a Polish anthropologist Jozef Obrebski, a student of Bronislaw Malinowski, found his "Slavic Trobriands" there - in remote villages with "isolated" traidtional culture. Nowadays, Poreche is one of the most popular place of local ethnographic and folkloristic explorations for those who look for natural beauty and traditional customs, costumes, songs and legends. Poreche is also perceived as a "pure" Macedonian region, thus is seen as an ideal "ethnographic laboratory". At the same time the region faces important changes connected to the new neoliberal economic order, as well as political and ethnic tensions in the country.

The utopian/ romantic/ idyllic vision of the region -which is also reproduced by the inhabitants themselves - goes hand in hand with narratives of everyday economic problems and political marginalization.

This paper analyses findings from an ethnographic revisit (Burawoy 2003) in Poreche, 80 years after Jozef Obrebski's research in the context of imaginaries, narratives, and perceptions of this region.

Panel Rur001
Ethnography of rural spaces: between utopia and neoliberalism