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Nar02a


Places that take action: narratives of transgression and normativity I 
Convenors:
Ülo Valk (University of Tartu)
Lidia Guzy (National University of Ireland)
Ane Ohrvik (University of Oslo)
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Chair:
Ane Ohrvik (University of Oslo)
Stream:
Narratives
Format:
Panel
Sessions:
Monday 21 June, 14:00-15:45 (UTC+3)

Short Abstract:

The relationship between humans and the environment is regulated by many rules. If these rules are violated, some places (e.g. holy places, shrines) can acquire agency and react, hence, take part in social life. The panel discusses the related narrative traditions in different cultures and contexts.

Long Abstract

Boundaries between territories and places are often marked by the invisible: narratives, discourses, memories, and symbolic meanings that certain locations acquire in the interaction between humans and their environment. This relationship is regulated by multiple unwritten rules and norms that are followed, acted out in everyday life but rarely verbalised. Behaviour rules in wilderness and cultural landscapes, indoors and outdoors, can differ greatly, to some extent depending on who controls or owns these places and what the social roles of the involved are. Holy places, shrines, graveyards, heritage sites, etc., stand out as particularly sensitive locations. Violation of behaviour rules here can lead to serious consequences, as confirmed by traditional belief narratives and personal experience stories; or the consequences can be experienced bodily as in the case of breaches of taboo. Places suddenly cease to be passive locations but acquire agency; they react bringing consequences for humans who transgress the norms of behavior. Hence, places can actively participate in social life and have both personhood and personality. The panel explores taboos in the context of a human and non-human agency, and narratives of transgression and agency of place from both historical and contemporary perspectives within the changing contexts of religions, secular worldviews, new spirituality, etc.

Accepted papers: