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Dealing with uncertainty 
Jiří Woitsch (Czech Academy of Sciences)
Daniel Drápala (Masaryk University - Faculty of Arts)
Martin Šimša (Nationale Institut of Folk Culture)
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Knowledge Production
Wednesday 23 June, 14:00-15:45 (UTC+3)

Short Abstract:

The panel aims to open the debate on uncertainty in ethnology, which should be based on both the applying uncertain research methods (e.g. experimental) and their theoretical reflections, as well as on empirical research in uncertain fields and times.

Long Abstract

Uncertainty is a culturally defined state, which has been often eliminated by culturally grounded habits, sets of beliefs and social institutions. At a first glance, it may even seem that culture is largely constructed in opposition to uncertainty. However, we assume uncertainty as a complementary part of life of all of us: It forces us to act creatively, thus contributing to dynamics of cultures. Following this, the very general goal of the panel is to open the debate on uncertainty in ethnology.

Uncertainty can be perceived as an important part in the very process of ethnological research, which relativizes extent and quality of the collected data and the ability to interpret them, thus contributing to the methodological dynamism of our field and our efforts to break the rules of different approaches. An example can be the adoption of experimental methods (e.g. reconstruction of old technologies) into ethnological research. Contributions applying uncertain research methods will thus be welcomed as well as theoretical reflections on uncertainty in social sciences and humanities.

On the other hand, uncertainty can also be understood as an impulse stimulating cultural and social processes that respond in various forms to the exceptional situations (e.g. conflicts, environmental and social disasters and last but not least pandemics). In such uncertain circumstances, it is often necessary to resort to strategies outside the "stabile" cultural framework, which lead to the emergence of new qualities. We thus expect presentations based on research focused on uncertain fields and situations.

Accepted papers: