Heri05
Re-enchantment, ritualisation, heritage-making: processes of tradition reconfiguration in Europe: historical and ethnographic examples

Convenors:
Alessandro Testa (Charles University, Prague)
Cyril Isnart (Institut d'Ethnologie Méditerranéenne, Européenne et Comparative)
Discussant:
Sharon Macdonald (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Stream:
Heritage
Location:
KWZ 1.701
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

Re-enchantment, ritualisation, and heritage-making are some of the concepts social scientists can use nowadays to better understand the dynamics of cultural transformations in late-modern societies. The panel aims to open new interpretative paths to question such dynamics in Europe.

Long abstract:

The aim of this panel is to gather and discuss historically and ethnographically informed papers about the symbolic, political, and religious reconfiguration of European "traditions" in the broad emic and etic senses of the word. Invention (Hobsbwam and Ranger dir. 1988), revitalisation (Boissevain dir. 1992), commodification (Comaroff and Comaroff dir. 2009), bureaucratisation (Herzfeld 1992), and ʻpast presencingʼ (Macdonald 2013) are among the main concepts social scientists use to interpret and understand the dynamics of cultural transformations in late-modern societies. We have chosen to focus on alternative paradigms, i.e. re-enchantment, ritualisation, and heritage-making, which can open the discussion up to the symbolic and sensitive dimensions of cultural dynamics. The panel also aims to rethink the theoretical scope and significance of these notions vis-à-vis the more classical concepts that link culture to economics or politics. This will be done on the basis of the sources and evidence informing the ethnographic and historical case studies presented in the papers. How are magic and supernatural powers publicly experienced? How can the ritualisation of a craft interweave with its commodification? What place do individuals' sensations and feelings have in the construction and demonstration of cultural commons? Speakers are encouraged to present cases from rural as well as urban contexts. Papers problematising both institutional/well-established and new/unofficial religions, crafts, food, monuments, as well as representations of nature are welcome. We also invite potential speakers to present not only examples of UNESCO heritage-making or NGO development policies, but also others concerning local, regional, or national groups and associations.