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Accepted Paper:

Against the "aversion to theory"  
Ingrid Slavec Gradišnik (ZRC SAZU)

Paper short abstract:

The paradigmatic shifts in Slovenian ethnology in the 1960s and 1970s were based on epistemological and methodological arguments that rejected "aversion to theory" and insisted that research agendas should reflect the transformative powers inherent to phenomena of (folk) culture and everyday life.

Paper long abstract:

Under the new political system after 1945, sporadic reflections on the academic and social position of ethnology and folklore studies anticipated the quest for a new disciplinary identity. However, this repositioning did not immediately distance itself from the positivist canon of defining the discipline as folk culture research. The investiture of the designation ethnology instead of ethnography/Volkskunde was at first a reflection of approaching the concept of "European ethnology" in the 1950s and substantiated by radical paradigmatic changes in the 1960s and 1970s.

These changes were proliferated in methodological discussions often beset by conflict and with an explicit epistemological stance: they reflected "historicity"; that is, the sociohistorical foundations of both the outdated concept of folk culture and the new concept of "way of life". Reconceptualized and new topics, as well as hitherto overlooked social groups, were introduced into research. A new genetic-structural orientation competing with the cultural-historical and philological model was based on two arguments: on the indispensability of theoretical and methodological reflections, and on the conviction that the dynamic inherent to culture and everyday life is rooted in changing time, spatial (local), and social conditions. Thus, on the one hand, it dealt with the "aversion to theory" and, on the other, furthered the need to study the multiplicity of socio-cultural phenomena and processes that the former ethnography did not or was unable to see (e.g., worker's culture and urban culture). Both aspects were tied to the international circulation of knowledge.

Panel Disc04
Tracking knowledge. On the history of changing disciplinary identities after 1945 [SIEF Working Group Historical Approaches in Cultural Analysis] [P+R]
  Session 1 Monday 15 April, 2019, -