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Volume 16 (2022): Issue 1 (June 2022)

Volume 15 (2021): Issue 2 (December 2021)

Volume 15 (2021): Issue 1 (June 2021)

Volume 14 (2020): Issue 2 (December 2020)

Volume 14 (2020): Issue 1 (June 2020)

Volume 13 (2019): Issue 2 (December 2019)

Volume 13 (2019): Issue 1 (June 2019)

Volume 12 (2018): Issue 2 (December 2018)

Volume 12 (2018): Issue 1 (June 2018)

Volume 11 (2017): Issue 2 (December 2017)

Volume 11 (2017): Issue 1 (June 2017)

Volume 10 (2016): Issue 2 (December 2016)

Volume 10 (2016): Issue 1 (June 2016)

Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
2228-0987
First Published
16 Apr 2016
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English

Search

Volume 14 (2020): Issue 1 (June 2020)

Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
2228-0987
First Published
16 Apr 2016
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English

Search

11 Articles

Editorial

Open Access

Editorial Impressions: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Magic of Uncertainty

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: i - vi

Abstract

Articles

Open Access

“Not Even All Physicians Know Chinese Medicine!”: Analysing the Legitimation Strategies of Chinese Medicine in the Estonian Media

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 1 - 24

Abstract

Abstract

To exemplify the legitimation processes of a pluralistic health field this article focuses on representations of Chinese medicine and its most popular spokes-person, Rene Bürkland, in the Estonian media. From 320 media texts published between 2009 and 2018 we chose 12 for close analysis with the aim of detecting specific discourses, untangling implicit meanings, and demonstrating the complexity of the rhetorical formulations used to legitimate Chinese medicine. We identified five key discourses – discourses of Bürkland’s charisma, holistic health, individual autonomy, subtle body, and integrative medicine – underpinning various legitimation strategies which aim to change the position of Chinese medicine from alternative to integrative. Our study reveals that the absence of scientific rhetoric together with key discourses has left Chinese medicine and its spokesperson without the attention of biggest critics of CAM and, therefore, has secured a positive image for Chinese medicine in the public discourse.

Keywords

  • legitimation strategies
  • media analysis
  • CAM
  • integrative medicine
  • medical experts
Open Access

Welcomed and Unwanted: Uncertainty and Possession in a Manasā Cult (North Bengal and West Assam, India)

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 25 - 48

Abstract

Abstract

Manasā is a very important goddess of the eastern part of India, particularly for the lower castes of Bengal, West Assam, some districts of Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar. She is the main goddess for the majority of Rajbansis of North Bengal. The fluid border between deities, witches and human beings is an essential part of both her myth and cult. Being a Tāntric deity, Manasā has an extremely ambivalent character: according to the narratives and ritualistic practice she is at the same time both welcomed and unwanted. Her worship involves negotiation with dangerous divine power, which generates insecurity and uncertainty, but at the same time rewards adepts with wonderful abilities. This paper is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted by the author in rural places in the Jalpaiguri, Koch-Behar, Goalpara and Darrang districts of West Bengal and Assam, India, among Rajbansis, Bodo Kachari and Assamees. The details of Manasā worship, Behula dance and storytelling by Bengali Monośa gidal, and in a form of Assamese suknāni ojha-palli (with deodhani dance and trance) will reveal a peculiar local knowledge system, directly aimed at overcoming and transforming mundane life crises.

Keywords

  • Hinduism
  • sacred
  • possession
  • performance
  • Manasā
Open Access

Faces of Mongolian Fear: Demonological Beliefs, Narratives and Protective Measures in Contemporary Folk Religion

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 49 - 64

Abstract

Abstract

This article looks at the perceptions of fear and ‘the frightening’ in contemporary Mongolian demonology. In the article, I discuss beliefs concerning both human and supernatural – what is supposed to be frightening for humans and what is supposed to be frightening for spirits, ghosts and demons. In daily interaction with the supernatural this mutual ‘fright’ can be regarded as an important part of communication. In this article, I discuss what is believed to be the most frightful for humans and for supernatural agents, what kinds of image this fear relates to and what the roots of these beliefs are, as well as the popular ways to confront and defend against ‘frightening’ in Mongolian folklore.

My research is based on fieldwork materials collected during annual expeditions in different parts of Mongolia (2006–2017) and Mongolian published sources such as Mongolian newspapers and journals, special editions of stories about encounters with the supernatural.

Keywords

  • Mongolian folklore
  • narratives
  • rites
  • fears
  • socialist past and contemporary period
Open Access

Living with Reindeer Thirty Years After Socialism: Land Use and Large Reindeer Herding Among the Evenki of Southeast Siberia

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 65 - 84

Abstract

Abstract

30 years after socialism many groups of Evenki reindeer herders failed to survive in the suboreal taiga of East Siberia. By making reference to two case studies from the northern part of the Zabaikal region and southern part of the Republic of Sakha, this article shows how the successful continuation of reindeer herding is based on the ability of charismatic leaders mobilising Evenki communities around reindeer herding and subsistence economies. This success also relies on connection to different agents of power in local administrations, large cities and governments and the use of all of the available opportunities that infrastructure or economic agents can offer.

Keywords

  • Siberia
  • reindeer herding
  • Zabaikal Region
  • South Yakutia
  • Evenki
  • land use strategies
Open Access

Migrant and Autochthonous Traditions within Udmurt Folksong (on the Example of the Siberian Udmurt)

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 85 - 110

Abstract

Abstract

This article* investigates, for the first time, the local musical tradition of the Udmurt of Chainsk district (Tomsk oblast). The overwhelming majority of migrants in this region arrived from the Sharkan district of the Udmurt Republic, in Siberia, at the beginning of the 20th century. For a long time they kept their original culture in an ethnically alien environment. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, their singing tradition started to fade under the influence of different factors (such as the disappearance of Udmurt rituals and festivals, as well as mixed marriages). The aim of this article is to compare the ‘Chainsk migrational’ singing tradition to the ‘Sharkan original’ musical tradition. The main collection of audio recordings covering the Chainsk district Udmurt musical tradition is conserved in the archives of the Udmurt Research Institute at the Russian Academy of sciences.1 It is comprised of fieldwork material gathered by researchers from the Institute in 1974 and 2006. We discovered new sources of audio and video recordings of the singing tradition in this territory, which allowed us to integrate more song samples. The analysis of both traditions reveals the basic genres of ritual singing, each of which has been examined from the point of view of the topic of the poetic text, the mood structures, and the metro-rhythmic and melodic peculiarities of their development.

Keywords

  • Udmurt
  • Siberian Udmurt
  • Tomsk oblast
  • migrants
  • original tradition
  • musical folklore
  • comparative analysis
Open Access

Chuvash ‘Paganism’ at the Turn of the 21st Century: Traditional Rituals in the Religious Practice of Volga–Urals Chuvash Groups

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 111 - 120

Abstract

Abstract

Traditional rituals formed the basis of ethnic Chuvash culture, and are still relevant in today’s festive and ritual culture, primarily among Chuvash ‘pagan’ ethno-religious groups. Today among the unbaptised Chuvash there is, with varying degrees of preservation, a set of ideas about the spirits of nature and the patron deity of different fields of life, practice of ritual prayer and sacrifice, and festive culture. The focus of ritual practice is the cult of the Supreme God Tura (Tură) and the ancestors, who during the calendar year appear in a single complex and in strict sequence. Traditional rituals play an essential role in the funeral and memorial rites and customs of the Chuvash. Thus, ‘pagan’ elements are characteristic not only of the unbaptised Chuvash, but also of some local groups of Christians and Muslims, for example ritual mourning of the dead, weekly commemoration on Thursday evenings until the ritual of ‘seeing off the soul’, ritual singing, sacrificing and ‘feeding’ souls of the dead on remembrance days, and other rituals and their elements. These ‘pagan’ elements in the culture of the Orthodox Chuvash and Chuvash Muslims living in ethnically mixed villages with Russians, Mordovians and Tatars both constitute the basis of their ethnic and cultural identity as Chuvash and contribute to the preservation of their ethnicity. Chuvash ‘paganism’, despite centuries of influence from Russian Orthodox and Muslim Tatar traditions, has a moderating influence over contemporary modernisation and is an element in religious practices of Chuvash confessional communities that is an important resource for the formation and development of ethnic and cultural identity.

Keywords

  • Chuvash
  • paganism
  • traditional rituals
  • religious practices
  • the Urals–Volga region
  • ethno-confessional groups
  • ceremonies
Open Access

Travellers, Easter Witches and Cunning Folk: Regulators of Fortune and Misfortune in Ostrobothnian Folklore in Finland

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 121 - 139

Abstract

Abstract

This article* is about the distinct groups that practised malevolent and benevolent witchcraft in Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnia in late-modern Finland according to belief legends and memorates. Placing belief legends and memorates in Mary Douglas’ tripartite classification of powers that regulate fortune and misfortune illuminates the social structure of agents who posed a threat or regulated it by means of their supranormal powers. Powers that bring misfortune dwell outside or within the community, whereas powers that bring fortune live within it but nevertheless may be ambivalent and pose a threat to its members as well. Threat towards the community was based on the concept of limited good, in other words the belief that there was a finite amount of prosperity in the world. The aim is to paint a detailed picture of the complex social structure and approaches to witchcraft in late-modern Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnia.

Keywords

  • witchcraft
  • cunning folk
  • folk healing
  • folk belief
  • benevolent magic

Notes & Reviews

Open Access

Book Review: Inward Looking: The Impact of Migration on Romanipe from the Romani Perspective

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 140 - 142

Abstract

Open Access

How the Udmurt Understand the World, and Man in it: Book Review

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 143 - 146

Abstract

Open Access

II International Multidisciplinary Conference Mongols: Traditions and Modernity 2019

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 147 - 151

Abstract

11 Articles

Editorial

Open Access

Editorial Impressions: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Magic of Uncertainty

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: i - vi

Abstract

Articles

Open Access

“Not Even All Physicians Know Chinese Medicine!”: Analysing the Legitimation Strategies of Chinese Medicine in the Estonian Media

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 1 - 24

Abstract

Abstract

To exemplify the legitimation processes of a pluralistic health field this article focuses on representations of Chinese medicine and its most popular spokes-person, Rene Bürkland, in the Estonian media. From 320 media texts published between 2009 and 2018 we chose 12 for close analysis with the aim of detecting specific discourses, untangling implicit meanings, and demonstrating the complexity of the rhetorical formulations used to legitimate Chinese medicine. We identified five key discourses – discourses of Bürkland’s charisma, holistic health, individual autonomy, subtle body, and integrative medicine – underpinning various legitimation strategies which aim to change the position of Chinese medicine from alternative to integrative. Our study reveals that the absence of scientific rhetoric together with key discourses has left Chinese medicine and its spokesperson without the attention of biggest critics of CAM and, therefore, has secured a positive image for Chinese medicine in the public discourse.

Keywords

  • legitimation strategies
  • media analysis
  • CAM
  • integrative medicine
  • medical experts
Open Access

Welcomed and Unwanted: Uncertainty and Possession in a Manasā Cult (North Bengal and West Assam, India)

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 25 - 48

Abstract

Abstract

Manasā is a very important goddess of the eastern part of India, particularly for the lower castes of Bengal, West Assam, some districts of Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar. She is the main goddess for the majority of Rajbansis of North Bengal. The fluid border between deities, witches and human beings is an essential part of both her myth and cult. Being a Tāntric deity, Manasā has an extremely ambivalent character: according to the narratives and ritualistic practice she is at the same time both welcomed and unwanted. Her worship involves negotiation with dangerous divine power, which generates insecurity and uncertainty, but at the same time rewards adepts with wonderful abilities. This paper is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted by the author in rural places in the Jalpaiguri, Koch-Behar, Goalpara and Darrang districts of West Bengal and Assam, India, among Rajbansis, Bodo Kachari and Assamees. The details of Manasā worship, Behula dance and storytelling by Bengali Monośa gidal, and in a form of Assamese suknāni ojha-palli (with deodhani dance and trance) will reveal a peculiar local knowledge system, directly aimed at overcoming and transforming mundane life crises.

Keywords

  • Hinduism
  • sacred
  • possession
  • performance
  • Manasā
Open Access

Faces of Mongolian Fear: Demonological Beliefs, Narratives and Protective Measures in Contemporary Folk Religion

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 49 - 64

Abstract

Abstract

This article looks at the perceptions of fear and ‘the frightening’ in contemporary Mongolian demonology. In the article, I discuss beliefs concerning both human and supernatural – what is supposed to be frightening for humans and what is supposed to be frightening for spirits, ghosts and demons. In daily interaction with the supernatural this mutual ‘fright’ can be regarded as an important part of communication. In this article, I discuss what is believed to be the most frightful for humans and for supernatural agents, what kinds of image this fear relates to and what the roots of these beliefs are, as well as the popular ways to confront and defend against ‘frightening’ in Mongolian folklore.

My research is based on fieldwork materials collected during annual expeditions in different parts of Mongolia (2006–2017) and Mongolian published sources such as Mongolian newspapers and journals, special editions of stories about encounters with the supernatural.

Keywords

  • Mongolian folklore
  • narratives
  • rites
  • fears
  • socialist past and contemporary period
Open Access

Living with Reindeer Thirty Years After Socialism: Land Use and Large Reindeer Herding Among the Evenki of Southeast Siberia

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 65 - 84

Abstract

Abstract

30 years after socialism many groups of Evenki reindeer herders failed to survive in the suboreal taiga of East Siberia. By making reference to two case studies from the northern part of the Zabaikal region and southern part of the Republic of Sakha, this article shows how the successful continuation of reindeer herding is based on the ability of charismatic leaders mobilising Evenki communities around reindeer herding and subsistence economies. This success also relies on connection to different agents of power in local administrations, large cities and governments and the use of all of the available opportunities that infrastructure or economic agents can offer.

Keywords

  • Siberia
  • reindeer herding
  • Zabaikal Region
  • South Yakutia
  • Evenki
  • land use strategies
Open Access

Migrant and Autochthonous Traditions within Udmurt Folksong (on the Example of the Siberian Udmurt)

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 85 - 110

Abstract

Abstract

This article* investigates, for the first time, the local musical tradition of the Udmurt of Chainsk district (Tomsk oblast). The overwhelming majority of migrants in this region arrived from the Sharkan district of the Udmurt Republic, in Siberia, at the beginning of the 20th century. For a long time they kept their original culture in an ethnically alien environment. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, their singing tradition started to fade under the influence of different factors (such as the disappearance of Udmurt rituals and festivals, as well as mixed marriages). The aim of this article is to compare the ‘Chainsk migrational’ singing tradition to the ‘Sharkan original’ musical tradition. The main collection of audio recordings covering the Chainsk district Udmurt musical tradition is conserved in the archives of the Udmurt Research Institute at the Russian Academy of sciences.1 It is comprised of fieldwork material gathered by researchers from the Institute in 1974 and 2006. We discovered new sources of audio and video recordings of the singing tradition in this territory, which allowed us to integrate more song samples. The analysis of both traditions reveals the basic genres of ritual singing, each of which has been examined from the point of view of the topic of the poetic text, the mood structures, and the metro-rhythmic and melodic peculiarities of their development.

Keywords

  • Udmurt
  • Siberian Udmurt
  • Tomsk oblast
  • migrants
  • original tradition
  • musical folklore
  • comparative analysis
Open Access

Chuvash ‘Paganism’ at the Turn of the 21st Century: Traditional Rituals in the Religious Practice of Volga–Urals Chuvash Groups

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 111 - 120

Abstract

Abstract

Traditional rituals formed the basis of ethnic Chuvash culture, and are still relevant in today’s festive and ritual culture, primarily among Chuvash ‘pagan’ ethno-religious groups. Today among the unbaptised Chuvash there is, with varying degrees of preservation, a set of ideas about the spirits of nature and the patron deity of different fields of life, practice of ritual prayer and sacrifice, and festive culture. The focus of ritual practice is the cult of the Supreme God Tura (Tură) and the ancestors, who during the calendar year appear in a single complex and in strict sequence. Traditional rituals play an essential role in the funeral and memorial rites and customs of the Chuvash. Thus, ‘pagan’ elements are characteristic not only of the unbaptised Chuvash, but also of some local groups of Christians and Muslims, for example ritual mourning of the dead, weekly commemoration on Thursday evenings until the ritual of ‘seeing off the soul’, ritual singing, sacrificing and ‘feeding’ souls of the dead on remembrance days, and other rituals and their elements. These ‘pagan’ elements in the culture of the Orthodox Chuvash and Chuvash Muslims living in ethnically mixed villages with Russians, Mordovians and Tatars both constitute the basis of their ethnic and cultural identity as Chuvash and contribute to the preservation of their ethnicity. Chuvash ‘paganism’, despite centuries of influence from Russian Orthodox and Muslim Tatar traditions, has a moderating influence over contemporary modernisation and is an element in religious practices of Chuvash confessional communities that is an important resource for the formation and development of ethnic and cultural identity.

Keywords

  • Chuvash
  • paganism
  • traditional rituals
  • religious practices
  • the Urals–Volga region
  • ethno-confessional groups
  • ceremonies
Open Access

Travellers, Easter Witches and Cunning Folk: Regulators of Fortune and Misfortune in Ostrobothnian Folklore in Finland

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 121 - 139

Abstract

Abstract

This article* is about the distinct groups that practised malevolent and benevolent witchcraft in Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnia in late-modern Finland according to belief legends and memorates. Placing belief legends and memorates in Mary Douglas’ tripartite classification of powers that regulate fortune and misfortune illuminates the social structure of agents who posed a threat or regulated it by means of their supranormal powers. Powers that bring misfortune dwell outside or within the community, whereas powers that bring fortune live within it but nevertheless may be ambivalent and pose a threat to its members as well. Threat towards the community was based on the concept of limited good, in other words the belief that there was a finite amount of prosperity in the world. The aim is to paint a detailed picture of the complex social structure and approaches to witchcraft in late-modern Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnia.

Keywords

  • witchcraft
  • cunning folk
  • folk healing
  • folk belief
  • benevolent magic

Notes & Reviews

Open Access

Book Review: Inward Looking: The Impact of Migration on Romanipe from the Romani Perspective

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 140 - 142

Abstract

Open Access

How the Udmurt Understand the World, and Man in it: Book Review

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 143 - 146

Abstract

Open Access

II International Multidisciplinary Conference Mongols: Traditions and Modernity 2019

Published Online: 15 Jun 2020
Page range: 147 - 151

Abstract

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