rss_2.0Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics of Ethnology and Folkloristics 's Cover“ “: Ecopoetic Symbolisation in Pgaz K’nyau Oral Poetry<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article* presents the transcription, translation, and annotation of an original performance of <italic>hta</italic>, a traditional form of oral poetry in Sgaw, the language of the Pgaz K’Nyau (Karen) people of northern Thailand. This performance was recorded during ethnopoetic fieldwork carried out in two villages in the province of Chiang Rai.<sup>2</sup> The <italic>hta</italic> is then analysed to understand the operations of ecopoetic symbolisation that bring particular nonhumans into the domain of human language. This analysis reveals that a metaphorical mode of symbolisation is extensively used throughout the <italic>hta</italic> to overcome human/nonhuman allotopies by means of implicit or explicit semic transformations. This seems to indicate that a naturalistic mode of identification underlies the whole poem, a conclusion that calls into question the essentialising and mythifying portrayal of the Pgaz K’Nyau as pre-modern and animistic indigenous stewards.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-12T00:00:00.000+00:00The Ecological Insight of the Rice Farming Tradition in Luwu Society, South Sulawesi, Indonesia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The ecological insights of local farming traditions have the potential to be adapted to modern agricultural practices. The article presents an exploration of the ecological insights of the <italic>bunga’ lalang</italic> rice farming tradition in the Luwu society, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Four rituals of the tradition were observed directly during their performance, followed by interviews with eleven figures including the ritual masters. Each ritual of the <italic>bunga’ lalang</italic> tradition was treated as a discourse and the meanings of the biological elements are extracted to generate ecological knowledge that is biologically logical and compatible with modern scientific knowledge in rice farming.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Marginalisation, Revolt and Adaptation: on Changing the Mayamara Tradition<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Assam is a land of complex history and folklore situated in North East India where religious beliefs, both institutional and vernacular, are part and parcel of lived folk cultures. Amid the domination and growth of Goddess worshiping cults (<italic>sakta</italic>) in Assam, the <italic>sattra</italic> unit of religious and socio-cultural institutions came into being as a result of the neo-Vaishnava movement led by Sankaradeva (1449–1568) and his chief disciple Madhavadeva (1489–1596). Kalasamhati is one among the four basic religious sects of the <italic>sattra</italic>s, spread mainly among the subdued communities in Assam. Mayamara could be considered a subsect under Kalasamhati. Aniruddhadeva (1553–1626) preached the Mayamara doctrine among his devotees on the north bank of the Brahmaputra river. Later his inclusive religious behaviour and magical skill influenced many locals to convert to the Mayamara faith. Ritualistic features are a very significant part of Mayamara devotee’s lives. Among the locals there are some narrative variations and disputes about stories and terminologies of the tradition. Adaptations of religious elements in their faith from Indigenous sources have led to the question of their recognition in the mainstream neo-Vaishnava order. In the context of Mayamara tradition, the connection between folklore and history is very much intertwined. Therefore, this paper focuses on marginalisation, revolt in the community and narrative interpretation on the basis of folkloristic and historical groundings. The discussion will reflect upon the beliefs, ritualistic aspects, and myths of the tradition. Fieldwork materials will be employed to discuss the tension between local practices and mainstream neo-Vaishnava influence.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Death by Poisoning: Cautionary Narratives and Inter-Ethnic Accusations in Contemporary Sikkim<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The Sikkimese are a multi-ethnic community in a Himalayan sub-region in India. Even though the majority of the population is Hindu and Nepalese, the minority Buddhist and Bhutia/Lepcha communities are very strong. Death by poisoning is a common occurrence among the Sikkimese, and it is often ambiguous and subject to suspicion. Narrated initially as traditional cautionary tales, these belief narratives have been used against the multi-ethnic communities that reside in Sikkim, leading to real-world accusations. The article explores how belief in, and narratives related to, poison, poisoning, poison keepers and the poison deity are used to justify the demonisation and othering of a community.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Of Barrenness and Witchcraft: The Songs of the Legi Women’s Association<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Witchcraft and barrenness are two critical issues that African women have had to grapple with since precolonial times. Therefore, the focus of attention in this paper is the songs of the Legi voluntary association among the Ịjọ of Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta region. The Legi women’s group is made up of adult women who are barren and/or have been tagged witches by their community. The women of the association compose songs about their experiences in society and sing them at burials. For the women of the Legi Association, art is a means of showing support for or solidarity with a member of the group whose father or mother has died. Moreover, the members of the association perform their songs at burials that are unconnected with them to celebrate with those who invite them.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Dajko, Nathalie and Shana Walton, eds. 2019. . Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi. and Reviews: Disarmed by Drama Methodology Prince’s Wings: Possible Origin of the Tale Type and its Early Chinese Variants<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article* aims to clarify the relations between the early versions of tale type ATU 575. Examining the range of Chinese accounts concerning various wooden birds, the author concludes that two groups can be distinguished. The first consists of stories about flying wooden kite-like birds that are not used as vehicles, while in the second, we deal with wooden birds that can carry people. Records belonging to the second group and evidently having their origin in Indian and Central Asian folk tradition appear later in China. An attempt is made to restore possible outlines of the tale type’s ancestral stories. The article states that the tale of an enamoured weaver in the <italic>Panchatantra</italic> evolves from the structure of such an ancestral story.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Editorial Impressions: Ethnography and Metaphors Review. Till Death do us Part: American Ethnic Cemeteries as Borders Uncrossed Sealed Grave and Burial Rituals in the Context of Revenants in Ukrainian Belief<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article* sets the goal of describing the Ukrainian ritual of the sealed grave and its relation to revenants, or the unquiet dead, based both on the author’s fieldwork and ethnographic collections of the turn of the 20th century. The meaning of the ritual and its variants are delineated through folk beliefs and institutionalised Orthodoxy and are defined as one of the main reasons for becoming revenants. Depending on a proper or failed funeral, the dead have different possibilities and time boundaries to visit the living. Together with biological reasons, the ritual of sealing a grave allows a seven-year period of return prior to the grave being finally sealed.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-12T00:00:00.000+00:00The Deaf Heritage Collective: Collaboration with Critical Intent<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper reflects upon the Deaf Heritage Collective, a collaborative project led by Edinburgh Napier University’s Design for Heritage team and Heriot Watt’s Centre for Translation And Interpreting Studies. The project aimed to advance discussion around the British Sign Language Act (Scottish Government 2015) and bring into being a network of Deaf communities and cultural heritage organisations committed to promoting BSL in public life. The aim of this paper is to contextualise the project and its creative approach within the distinctly Scottish context, and the ideals of critical heritage, critical design and the museum activist movement. This paper presents the context and creative processes by which we engaged participants in debate and the struggles we encountered. We describe these processes and the primacy of collaborative <italic>making</italic> as a mode of inquiry. We argue that by curating a workshop space where different types of knowledge were valorised and where participants were encouraged to “think with” materials (Rockwell and Mactavish 2004) we were able to challenge the balance of power between heritage professionals and members of the Deaf community. By harnessing the explanatory power of collaborative <italic>making</italic> we debated the assemblages of epistemic inequality, and the imagined futures of Deaf heritage in Scotland.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Searching for the Hidden God: The Intimacy of Sound and Listening among Krishna Devotees in Mayapur<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This article looks at how the Krishna devotees in Mayapur, West Bengal, learn how to chant and listen to the sound of the holy name properly. They suggest that if one is ‘pure’ enough and knows how to listen one experiences the syneasthetic level of sound called <italic>pashyanti</italic>. At this level, one can reach beyond the duality of the ‘hidden and manifested’ worlds, the external and internal levels of sound; and one can ultimately see God face to face. This is also considered a level at which one can realise that the sound of God’s name and God himself are the same. I will focus on how the devotees learn to create this sense of intimacy with God through the sound of his holy name, and argue that listening is not merely a process connected to our auditory sense but rather a creative and engaging activity, a skill that one can develop.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2016-09-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Healing Chains, Relationships of Power and Competing Religious Imageries in the Monastery of Saints Kosmas and Damian in Kuklen (Bulgaria)<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This article<xref ref-type="fn"><sup>*</sup></xref> offers an anthropological analysis of a conflict over the use of a set of ‘healing chains’ and other focal objects kept in the Orthodox Christian monastery of Saints Kosmas and Damian in Kuklen, Bulgaria. In a nutshell, the conflict captures the leading religious imageries propagated by the custodians of the monastery on the one hand, and the spiritual leaders of a new religious movement, so-called Deunovians, on the other. The analysis helps situate some of the significant changes currently affecting the religious culture of Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria within a broader social and cultural context.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2016-09-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Maya Intimacy with the Mountains: Pilgrimage, Sacrifice and Existential Economy<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>In this paper, I present two very different and yet very similar ethnographic examples of mountain-related pilgrimage and sacrifice ritual performed by the present-day highland Maya. The question I ask is why the sense of sacredness, animation and power of the mountains endures among the traditionalist as well as Pentecostal Maya in spite of the extensive transformations of the world today. In so doing, I examine the native concept of the mountain not merely as a social or cultural representation, but as an expression of everyday lived experiences and existential relationships between people and the physical and spiritual world they inhabit. Finally, I argue that the experience of interaction, communication and intimacy between the Maya and their mountain deities can be best defined as a dynamic participation in the course of the world – an existential economy of ‘working the world’.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2016-09-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Exú’s Work – The Agency of Ritual Objects in Southeast Brazilian Umbanda<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This article<xref ref-type="fn"><sup>*</sup></xref> concentrates on the material side of religious intimacy in Afro-Brazilian Umbanda through an ‘ontographic’ perspective as well as looking at materiality as evidence. It is based on an eleven-month fieldwork period among devotees, clients and individual practitioners of Umbanda in Southeast Brazilian metropolises, especially in São Paulo. In people’s experiences of spiritual work (<italic>trabalho</italic>) and spiritual development (<italic>desenvolvimento</italic>) carried out with Exús – guardians, guides and protectors who have, after their death, returned in order to work for people’s wellbeing – ritual objects (such as bodies, clothes, beverages, herbs, cigarettes, candles, songs) are seen as constitutive in knowledge production and life transformation. The central claim in this article is that diverse material and immaterial objects through which Exús interact and materialise, are neither primarily symbolic nor representative, but are re-configurative.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2016-09-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Funeral Rites from Moldova in a National Context Consumption Practices in the Koryak Community<p>The article<xref ref-type="fn" rid="j_jef-2016-0010_fn_001_w2aab2b8c14b1b7b1ab1aaAa">*</xref> is dedicated to the analysis of alcohol consumption practices within the Koryak ethno-cultural community. The aim of the article is to understand how the reasons for alcohol consumption are explained within the framework of the community. The analysis is based on the ideas of Durkheim’s social theory. The author of the article claims that the practice of consuming alcohol is essentially connected with the more archaic practice of mushroom consumption since both have a grounding in the Koryak perception of the world. The analysed models of behaviour stem from appropriate Koryak epistemology and ontology, which themselves are based on the notion of the ‘other world’ and communication with supernatural entities (spirits). The isomorphism of consuming alcohol and amanita intoxication reflects the inner core of this connection: the Koryak believe that an entity enters the human body and controls their actions. The transition from one type of intoxication to another is accompanied by drastic transformation of the materiality of the consumed product, which, in turn, leads towards social transformations. Such social changes are qualified as anomie by the author of the article. The visual materiality of the amanita mushroom dictated its symbolic anthropomorphism and creation of special rules for the treatment (amanita codex). The physical amorphousness of vodka does not imply the same intellectual work. The author claims that this factor was one of the reasons why the Koryak do not have social regulations about vodka consumption – which leads to mass alcoholism. It is possible that indigenous communities have difficulties in working out the required social regulations because of the complexities surrounding the non-utilitarian treatment of the unusual materiality of vodka.</p>ARTICLE2016-12-30T00:00:00.000+00:00Woven Identities: Socioeconomic Change, Women’s Agency, and the Making of a Heritage Art in Jølster, Norway<p>This article<xref ref-type="fn" rid="j_jef-2016-0012_fn_001_w2aab2b8b1b1b7b1ab1aaAa">*</xref> focuses on the recent history and contemporary practice of a kind of traditional tapestry weaving known as <italic>smettvev</italic> in the rural county of Jølster in mountainous western Norway. Jølster has a rich fibre arts tradition and a rapidly changing society and economy, which make it an exemplary study in material culture as its fibre arts transform to accommodate these changes. This article draws on ethnographic research and interviews with representative practitioners and community members to examine how conceptions about producer and audience identity and the role of this art form in everyday life have evolved in light of changing context. The article furthermore discusses the ways in which the forms and motifs associated with <italic>smettvev</italic> are being re-appropriated by local contemporary artists working in other mediums, as well as by individuals and institutions who see <italic>smettvev</italic> as a symbol of local identity and heritage.</p>ARTICLE2016-12-30T00:00:00.000+00:00Interview With Professor Simon J. Bronner