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Lost in translation: peasant subaltern agency and hegemonic power I 
Merili Metsvahi (University of Tartu)
Andreas Kalkun (Estonian Folklore Archives)
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Merili Metsvahi (University of Tartu)
Andreas Kalkun (Estonian Folklore Archives)
Thursday 24 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Helsinki

Short Abstract:

In the societies with strong hegemonic power relations there can be a huge distance between beliefs, ways of life and value orientations of different classes. We invite scholars to discuss cases when peasant subaltern agency or elements of counterculture emerge in such societies.

Long Abstract:

In some societies there are more social tensions between different social strata than in other ones. One of the reasons for this is that the ruling class - having not much information about the habits, beliefs, customs, world view and values of the people - does not consider their interests and needs. If the distance between the law-makers and lower classes whom the law is applied is huge and the mediators between the lowest and highest strata (local representors of state power, pastors etc.) are neither well aware of the vernacular ways of life and perception of the world, unwished confrontations can take place. In order to maintain the dignity in the eyes of the fellow members of their community, people do not follow the rules and start to behave in the ways that are unexpected from the point of view of the ruling classes. E. g. they begin to laugh in the church while the new regulations are announced or make sarcastic remarks while defending themselves in court (examples from the 17th and 18th century Estonia).

We invite scholars of different backgrounds and locations mainly dealing with the past to introduce historical sources, ethnographic data and folklore that reflect social tensions based on the rules that do not consider local ways of life. What were the ways of coping with the situation in such hegemonic power relations? Was the peasant subaltern agency so significant that one can speak about the counterculture?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 24 June, 2021, -