Accepted paper:

Wreaths, folk costumes and customs in magazines on herbal medicine


Iwona Kolodziejska-Degorska (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

How do short folklore forms present in magazines on herbal medicine popular among Central Ukrainian villagers influence local plants knowledge and sense of national and local identity.

Paper long abstract:

A few titles of magazines on herbal medicine are popular in Central Ukrainian villages. They are Ukrainian editions of such magazines issued and popular also in other former USSR countries. Illustrations in surveyed magazines are based on idealised visions of rural life full of short folklore forms. Illustrations of this type are more common in the magazines than iconography of plants. Such magazines are commonly read by villagers as the source of medicinal plants knowledge. Due to the state withdrawal the plant knowledge, especially on medicinal plants, is significant for everyday well-being. As self-medication is the first and very important curing strategy, such knowledge also gives the feeling of agency. I analyse the magazines read by Ukrainian villagers and compare them with declarative knowledge and practices of the readers, collected via ethnographic research (participant observation, unstructured interviews, villagers' plant collections surveys, filming). By doing so I aim to answer the following questions: How is the knowledge from written sources incorporated into practice? Do these type of narrative and illustration influence the shape of medicinal plants knowledge of Ukrainian villagers? Are there new plants incorporated into local pharmacopoeia due to the national heritage discourse present in the magazines. Do they influence the sense of local and national identity of the villagers.

panel Nar008
Narratives on agency, well-being and everyday lives in real and imagined societies