Cultural Analysis, Volume 13, 2014
Ethnology and Anthropology in Europe:
Ethnologist Aleksandra Muraj doing fieldwork in the Kordun region, central Croatia, 1962. Photograph from the collection of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb, photo no. 40082.
Across the former communist-bloc border there were different strands of the science with similar designation. Néprajz, ludoznanstvo, etnologija, etnografija, folkloristika, narodopis(je)... were the terms denoting a particular national (local) brand of the "description or study of people" (known elsewhere by the German term Volkskunde). Western social anthropologists saw in those disciplines a field very different from their own discipline and portrayed them without discriminating between different national contexts. Their subject matter was perceived to be exclusively their own folk culture, the culture of the peasantry, which was identified as the repository of national culture. This finding led to the assumption—that has become a myth (Buchowski 2012b)—that they were harnessed in the service of nation-building in each of the countries in which they developed. Unlike social anthropology, then, whose context was empire-building overseas and its subject matter other peoples and cultures, the CEE ethnologies supposedly dealt with their own culture and people in the context of national projects. A standard Western opinion on the practice of anthropology is succintly exemplifed by Adam Kuper's description: "scholars in CEE countries tended to share a traditional, nationalist preoccupation with peasant traditions, and their work had little theoretical content or comparative range" (in Buchowski, 2004, 10). In the rendering of similar opinions by CEE scholars, their ethnologies allegedly exhibited a lack of theoretical thinking, positivism and empiricism (Buchowski 2004). In addition, they connoted smallness and marginality (Baskar 2008). These notions were contrasted to the theoretical sophistication and importance of the "core" of anthropological science practiced in Anglophone countries.
Further opposites developed: national vs. cosmopolitan anthropology (Hann 2003), native ethnographers vs. universalist/comparativist anthropologists (Hann 2002, 2013). Some voices from CEE confirm, even today, the relevance of those fundamentally opposing dichotomies in their countries. For example, Saša Nedeljković (2014) presents the relationship between ethnology and anthropology in contemporary Serbia in terms of a set of opposites between national-global, Eastern-Western, traditional-modern, rural-urban, and empirical-theoretical science.
The above description of Eastern-style ethnology by Western anthropology more or less follows the famous article by the Hungarian ethnologist Tamás Hofer, in which the author dwells mainly on the difference in the subject matter (own or other culture) and methodological differences between anthropologist's long-term fieldwork and ethnologist's short-term visits to field sites (Hofer 1968).5 In the South-Eastern European area, a similar statement, which described ethnology in Yugoslavia as traditionalistic, atheoretical, and of little interest to American-style cultural anthropology, was written by American anthropologists Joel Halpern and Eugene Hammel (1969). It seems that these two earlier articles, one by a CEE ethnologist, another by American anthropologists, have sealed up until the present day the perception of the difference between a Western-style anthropology and an Eastern-style national ethnology. The differences discussed by Hofer were thus evoked almost 40 years after in Chris Hann's articles. He firmly adhered to the conventional colonialist habitus of the British social anthropology as the study of a distant, far away Other (Hann 2003, 2007). Obviously, CEE ethnologies could not fit that paradigm. Therefore, both the "Ethnowissenschaftler" and their terrains in CEE seemed exotic to Hann (2002). In a reply to Buchowski's article (2004), he openly admitted that he did not find much CEE anthropology useful and advised the "native" practitioners to do "proper" fieldwork. In his words, if locals "wish to be as widely read as some of the outsiders who write about CEE, then they need to put in the field time and write monographs of equivalent depth and sophistication" (Hann 2005, 195). "Proper fieldwork," of course, meant staying in a foreign country for a year. Stressing distant fieldwork as the hallmark of anthropology and a necessary epistemic tool for "in-depth work," he further advised his counterparts in CEE to step out of the national framework of doing fieldwork.
Ljelje, spring procession from Gorjani in north-eastern Croatia, with musicologist Stjepan Stepanov taking notes, 1957. The procession is on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Photograph from the collection of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb, photo no. 30897.
As late as 2013, Hann modelled the differences between two anthropological practices schematically, distinguishing positivist "native ethnographers" dealing with their own and "comparativists" dealing with other cultures, in a volume which, if read carefully, disclaims such a mechanistic and panoramic portrayal of "native ethnographers" (Hann 2013). In that not entirely clear-cut article, Hann (2013) tries to rephrase the dichotomous view of "native ethnography" vs. "comparative anthropology," which underlies many of his earlier contributions. He recognises "convergences" in topics, theories used, methodological changes in both ethnological and anthropological traditions, and advocates for a necessity to overcome the dichotomy (Hann 2012, 2014). However, the following and similar statements transpire with the condescending attitude of the author toward "natives" qua scientists and undermine his statements elsewhere: "Many natives have shown that they are just as capable as the foreigners of carrying out insightful studies of a range of modern topics..." (Hann 2013, 24). The statement points out that the debate between Eastern ethnologists and British anthropologists is not just a figment of Easterners' imagination but that there indeed is a problem in the "core" anthropologist's perceptions of what can be achieved by ethnologists in CEE.
Realities of CEE Ethnologies
The image of a homogeneous and outdated ethnology in the post-socialist world has never been accurate, not more so at the time of its "discovery" in the 1990s than today. The fragmentation of the discipline in that part of the world was no less significant than in other parts of the world, including in the "cosmopolitan" (Anglo-American, French) anthropologies. CEE has developed nationally specific ways of practicing the discipline and of relating to sister sciences. Even a cursory glance at varied histories of the discipline(s) in the pre- and post-1989 era, and at studies of contemporary ethnologies in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia would suffice to recognise the oversight committed in the uniform depictions of ethnology in these countries (see e. g. papers in Ethnologia Balkanica 2014; Giordano et al 2014a; Bošković and Hann 2013; Kürti and Skalník 2009b).
Significant deviations from the canon peasant-authentic-national occurred in some former socialist countries as early as in the 1970s and 1980s (e.g. Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia; see Rihtman-Auguštin 2004; Slavec Gradišnik 2012; Muršič 2002; Potkonjak 2013; Buchowski 2012b; Kiliánová 2012; Čapo and Gulin Zrnić 2014), and not in the post-1989 era. The influences were diverse even in the pre-1989 period. The impact of the German critical ethnology of Herman Bausinger, anthropological theories coming from Western Europe and the United States, as well as anthropological new terrains on the European Southern and Northern peripheries (studies in the Mediterranean, Ireland) and later in urban milieus—all had an effect on ethnologies in CEE countries, with the result that earlier research paradigms were at least paralleled, if not surpassed by the incorporation of ethnological and anthropologised streams coming from various sources into local contexts. For example, in Croatia and Slovenia, everyday life and contemporary issues were studied already in the 1970s and 1980s. These two countries (at the time in Yugoslavia) followed general trends in global science, both the transformations that led from Volkskunde to European ethnology, and those coming from Anglophone and Francophone traditions. That is why the Croatian ethnologist Dunja Rihtman-Auguštin (2004) used the term "ethno-anthropology"6: it denotes anthropologised ethnological sciences — in the sense that they apply anthropological theories derived from various sources, including social and cultural anthropology and European ethnology, while still doing research on home terrains. That term has entered standard use (Johler 2012; Buchowski 2012b) and is widely applied to denote transformations that ethnologies in CEE have undergone since the 1970s.
Ethnologist Dunja Rihtman-Auguštin 1997. Photograph from the collection of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb, photo no. 38197, photo taken by I Lozica.
This process of "anthropologisation" led to a notion in certain CEE countries (e. g. Croatia, Slovenia) that there was no difference between ethnology and anthropology (social/cultural). Though their co-existence was not always smooth (especially in the 1990s), the co-presence of anthropological discourses finally led to a "velvet revolution" in which departments and institutes of ethnology doubled up their names to become departments and institutes of ethnology and cultural anthropology (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia).7 This development resembles the one bringing closer European ethnology in other parts of Europe to cultural anthropology (Kockel et al. 2012a, 3). That transformation was not only cosmetic, it reflected real disciplinary changes from historical to contemporary and rural to urban topics of ethno-anthropological research, still mostly done at home. British social anthropology's discovering "home" as a fieldwork site certainly contributed to the argument that there was not an intrinsic difference between ethnology and anthropology. Indeed, one can reverse the perspective by saying that European ethnologies have been "at home" for longer than the British social anthropology; social anthropologists only recently "came home" to where ethnologists have always been (comp. Godina 2002). The epistemic changes that anthropology underwent in the 1980s, when it abandoned comparison and generalisation, also contributed to the perception in certain CEE countries that there was no clear boundary distinguishing ethnology from social/cultural anthropology (ibid.).
Judging by the "struggles" engaged in by P. Skalník (2002), this has not been the case in the Czech Republic, and social anthropology, which had disappeared due to political pressure under communism, only slowly established itself as a discipline—distinct from ethnology—in the post-communist period. The re-established discipline entered into a competitive relationship with ethnology. But here, as in other countries, this competition might have been less a matter of epistemological, theoretical and methodological discrepancies between ethnology and social/cultural anthropology and more a matter of a "struggle for position in the academic world and access to financial resources" (Kiliánová 2012, 116). In some countries, that "struggle" pitted ethnology against social anthropology (the Czech Republic, Slovenia), in others, it was more a struggle between ethnology and biological anthropology (Croatia).8
It appears that what in the German-speaking world has been called die Wende— i.e. a decisive change in political, economic and social development that started with the collapse of communist systems after 1989—did not provoke such a decisive academic Wende. Various contributors discussing post-communist changes in the academic world in a volume edited by Konrad Köstlin, Peter Niedermüller and Herbert Nikitsch (Köstlin et al. 2002) could not establish that 1989 was a clear dividing line for the changing identities of ethnological disciplines in CEE. Clearly, transformations started earlier, and even without institutionalised forms of social or cultural anthropology in CEE, there was access to anthropological and contemporary ethnological knowledge (to a varying degree), which had been transforming the disciplines before 1989.
Another issue is to what extent CEE ethnologies were under the sway of communist ideology. Here, too, we do not find a uniform ideological influence across all (post-)communist countries. The inflection the communist system had on ethnology was different from country to country (just as much as the systems varied among themselves), ranging from complete isolation and ideologisation of the society and its sciences, as in Albania (Hysa Kodra 2014), to a semi-open system that allowed contacts with the international scholarly world, as in Yugoslavia, which culminated in only indirect pressure and self-imposed censorship (Rihtman-Auguštin 2004). It ranged from the "blind intervention of the socialist official ideology" in Romania (Șerban and Dorondel 2014) and rigorous adaptation of Soviet theories in East Germany to escaping ideologization in Hungary and Poland (Hann 2012, 2013). Paradoxically, one South-Eastern European country, otherwise omitted from these discussions—Turkey—which was not a space of long-term communist rule, was the champion in political controls over social sciences. Throughout the 20th century, the Turkish state exercised constant ideologisation and control across the board of changing military regimes and governments, causing discontinuities in the development of social sciences (Kartari 2014).
There are a few other aspects of the debate between "Eastern" and "Western" styles of anthropology upon which I wish to comment. Though the idea that CEE ethnologies were exclusively nation-building disciplines—both in the sense of studying the own (peasant society) and imbuing it with nation-building capacity—has been challenged by local scholars (Čapo 1991; Baskar 20089; Kiliánová 2012; Buchowski 2012b; see also works quoted in Pobłocki 2009), that idea still has currency among some in the "West" who reiterate the myth of national(istic) ethnology in CEE (Buchowski 2012b), without subjecting it to analysis, scrutiny and cross-national comparison.10 We are still awaiting a study—that could come from any strand of ethnology/anthropology—that would deal with and explain the paradox that the communist ideology, which promulgated the "working class" into the subjects of history, tolerated ethnology (the "reactionary bourgeois science") that was researching "peasants as bearers of national values." How was this paradox resolved in different communist countries? How did local ethnological paradigms deal with these issues? Were there any differences between countries with a clear national majority and those with mixed multi-ethnic populations as in former Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union? In an article dealing with this issue, I showed that Croatian ethnology, in spite of its alleged national(istic) bias, or maybe because it feared being accused of it, managed to navigate relatively freely in the multi-national Yugoslav workers' state by examining individual items of peasant cultures within a diffusionist paradigm, irrespective of their "ethnic bearers." I argued that Croatian ethnology, at the time, promoted a culturalist and trans-national rather than a national(ist) agenda (Čapo 1991; for a summary Čapo and Gulin Zrnić 2014). Quite a different scenario was deployed in a country with a clear-cut national majority, Albania, where ethnography was in the service of the nation during communism (Hysa Kodra 2014).
Due to these pre-1989 differences, the 1990s saw an old and a new wave of nationalization of ethnologies in CEE. Some would interpret it as a typical post-colonial development, a "nativist stand" understandable in the broader political context of the re/construction and emancipation of the nation (Ruegg 2014, 91-92; see also Muršič 2002, 160). In Slovenia, the nationalization of ethnology provoked sharp criticism from the colleagues interested in a comparative anthropological enterprise and in other cultures. In the wake of the creation of the nation-state and in the context of a long repressed public interest in national culture, national issues came to the forefront of ethnology in Croatia in the 1990s. However, since Croatian ethnology had by that time become a critical science of culture and had been internationalised, ethnologists/anthropologists engaged with critical identity studies rather than national(istic) agendas (comp. the interpretation in Čapo Žmegač 2002). Thus, there is another complex issue regarding CEE ethnologies: at the same time as they were internationalising in outlook, the topics of their research were increasingly national (comp. Löfgren in Johler 2012). Therefore, it is clear that the marriage of ethnology with a national agenda in CEE countries played out differently in different countries: in some countries the communist period coincided with national agendas while post-communism abandoned this perspective; in others it was precisely the post-communist era that brought about a more national science (but not necessarily a more nationalistic one).
In sum, in spite of heterogeneous particular contexts and transformations that have characterised ethnologies dealing with the own, in the pre-1989 era and later, some British anthropologists adhere to the ideal-typical and simplistic opposition between national, historicising and diachronic ethnology and cosmopolitan and synchronic anthropology to this day (Hann 2013). As already mentioned, neither ethnology nor anthropology ever corresponded to these ideal types. In addition, both were challenged and changing in the 1970s and 1980s, both discussed the loss of their subject matter and basic episteme, both had undergone a deep transformative process since the 1970s and 1980s. Indeed, these changes prompted some German ethnologists to express concern over a loss of the "distinctive image" of Volkskunde in Germany (Brückner in Johler 2012). The encounter with ethnologies in CEE coincided with important changes in the established identity of social/cultural anthropology, notably with the disappearance of colonial terrains and search for novel territories for studying the Other. When the colonial Others disappeared or became less accessible for research due to decolonization, the Northern, Southern, and Eastern European fringes became new terrains in which anthropologists looked for Otherness. The development of urban anthropology, for example in France, was part and parcel of that shift toward terrains nouveaux in the post-colonial era (see Ruegg 2014; Frykman 2012). At the same time, anthropology underwent intra-disciplinary transformations toward a self-reflexive discipline questioning the blind spot of anthropological involvement in the colonial project (the post-modernists of the 1980s).
In the midst of the decolonisation of the discipline, reflexive turn, questioning representation and reframing of fieldwork as dialogical, it is indeed curious that some British anthropologists would try to impose an obsolete notion of social anthropology as the study of the Other on ethnologies in the former socialist countries and that, instead of engaging in a dialogue with their colleagues in CEE they would choose to bypass them completely and condescend "native ethnography" (Buchowski 2004). In the words of François Ruegg (2014), it looks as if they had never been hit by post-colonial and reflexive turns.
Reactions by CEE Scholars
The generic negative portrayal of ethnologies in CEE as well as their second-class status in relation to "proper" anthropology spurred criticism among CEE ethnologists. Stereotyping, patronising, Orientalising/exoticising, neglecting, nativising, and colonising are some of the terms with which they qualified Western images of themselves. CEE ethnologists/anthropologists found that their studies were received as "native/indigenous" ethnographies, as data rather than as scientific analyses, and they themselves as informants rather than as colleagues, or else they were completely dismissed and their work passed over in silence by anthropologists from the "West" doing research in their countries (Buchowski 2004; Kürti and Skalník 2009a; Skalník 2014). An example is the Croatian ethnography of the war of the 1990s: Croatian ethnologists who studied the effects of the war on everyday life were too easily defined as mere "natives," claimed a local scholar (Povrzanović 1995) and their war ethnography as disguised nationalism (e.g. by Greverus 1996).11They were identified with the culture they came from, and with the powerless, marginal, and dubious position of their country, through which, as claimed by Ines Prica (1995), the ethnologist becomes equally powerless, marginal, and ambiguous.
Prica (1995) argued that there was unidirectional communication between cultural anthropology and Croatian ethnology, and CEE ethnologies as a whole, and even contempt and prejudice on the part of anthropology towards ethnologies in CEE. Michał Buchowski (2004, 2005, 2012a) has denounced similar treatment of Polish and other CEE ethnologies/anthropologies while László Kürti and Peter Skalník (2009a) identified a persistent Orientalising discourse within the EU.12 In spite of this, Kürti and Skalník seem to be themselves bogged down by conventional British social anthropology—and its Orientalising discourse which they criticise—when they speak of "native anthropologists" and praise a "special position of a returnee anthropologist," trained abroad and returning home to work (Kürti and Skalník 2009a, 11). I argue that that position might have its specificities, but this is a judgement from the viewpoint of British social anthropology and it neglects a more common position, that of the anthropologist at home who was trained at home as well. Even more worrying is that Kürti and Skalník address themselves primarily to colleagues in the West and they fail to inspire themselves by what colleagues in the similar position of anthropologists at home, located in CEE, have to say (e.g. in Croatia, Gulin Zrnić 2005 on fieldwork at home). If it is true that "Westerners" do not quote us, we, the "Easterners," do not read and quote us among ourselves even when we publish in English.
The contestation of the hegemonic discourse of social anthropology by CEE ethnologists is sharp and straightforward: there is reference to "hierarchies of knowledge" (Buchowski 2004), "power inequalities" (Prica, various articles), "a poisoned antagonistic relationship" (Buchowski in Kürti and Skalník 2009a, 10), and "the perplexing vast academic hiatus" (Kürti 2008) between CEE anthropologists/ethnologies and their Western colleagues. The CEE ethnologists denounce their treatment as second-class anthropologists by their colleagues (Kürti 2008), etc. Kürti (ibid.) is particularly vehement in his criticism and I am left wondering what could have been the motives for his, at times, passionate personal statements.13
Having said that, the "soft power intrusion" (Kürti 2008) into CEE academic life by Anglo-American anthropology is undeniable. It induced and dictated research topics and social science models in CEE, not only because of its symbolic power, but even more so because of its financial power: ethnicity, nationalism, minorities, multiculturalism, property relations, civil society, gender issues, inequality, etc. are "academically correct" and "Euro-compatible" research topics in CEE rather than wedding rituals, legends, story-telling, etc. (Kürti and Skalník 2009a; Șerban and Dorondel 2014; Giordano et al 2014b; Ruegg 2014). François Ruegg even went as far as to state that "Eastern European social anthropology is still a colony of western academies: local anthropologists serve essentially as a working force for foreign institutions and moneys" (2014: 85). This indeed is a forceful statement by a social anthropologist from a "centre" of anthropological production, backing less powerful voices from CEE. Speaking from Austria, Gert Dressler (2000) also shows that Austrian "academic development aid" to Bulgaria was patronising. That there are grounds for speaking of a post-colonial condition in all aspects of life in CEE is confirmed by other influential voices from the West, such as Christian Giordano's (2014). To the contrary, Kacper Pobłocki (2009) has recently argued that current hierarchies of anthropological knowledge production are a result of global political economy rather than of post-colonial context of the sciences in CEE.
Towards a Trans-National Ethnology/Anthropology of Europe
To a crude generic portrait of CEE ethnologies by Western anthropologists, this article has opposed a picture of fragmented and heterogenous ethnologies in CEE. It has shown that there has never existed a unified Eastern European ethnology. There is so much diversity and variation in the historical paths of transformation of ethnologies in CEE that it is impossible to come up with any generalization about ethnological traditions in the former socialist bloc. Their "astonishing fragmentation" (Barrera-González 2005) is not any greater or lesser (or more astonishing) than the one found between them and the anthropologies in the West. A similar insight led Chris Hann (2012) to conclude that insisting on a dichotomous model is a pointless exercise. I also consider it pointless because anthropologies in the Western European countries and across the Atlantic are as diversified as the ones in CEE.
I am tempted to account for the heterogeneity of ethno-anthropological sciences by quoting André Burguière, the famous historian of the Annales school. He found the essence of this diversity in national histories. Explaining his experience with the publication of special issues of the journal Ethnologie française devoted to less known European ethnologies/anthropologies, Burguière observed that each issue on a particular national tradition of ethnology/anthropology (Norwegian, Swedish, Polish, Slovenian, etc.) was an experience of "dépaysement," because the "intellectual orientation" of ethnologists from each ethnology did not only treat general problems of the discipline but showed "clear relation to the history of the country"; "it reflected an assemblage of ... particularities, that one can call national character, which is the result of the path travelled in the construction of the nation" (Burguière and Heintz 2012, 371, translation mine).14 This opinion echoes Tamás Hofer (1996) who spoke of "intellectual style," "concepts of reality," and the input of different "historical pasts," calling this tendency in ethnological sciences "latent ethnicity," one that reflects the national societies in which they are practised. I argue that such a "national" bias pervades ethno-anthropological sciences as a whole. In those that are identified as cosmopolitan and comparative Western anthropologies, it found expression in their imperialism and exoticisation of other cultures and the refusal of parity to local scholars whom the visiting anthropologists condescended as "natives" and not academic interlocutors with whom to engage in scientific dialogue.15
When the CEE scholars retorted to the lack of parity in academic dialogue, or in the phrase of François Ruegg (2014, 87) to a lack of a "deontology of fairness and equality," their criticism was addressed to a generic "Western" anthropology. Though they were mainly debating certain American and British authors, they utilized a general notion of "Western anthropology" and opposed it to ethnological practices in CEE. It could be said that they committed the same error as their British and American counterparts who failed to recognize that there might be noticeable differences across ethnological disciplines in CEE. That is how a sterile exchange, pervaded by misrepresentations on both sides, went on for more than two decades.
The close encounter between Western traditions of anthropology of the Other with CEE ethnologies of own national cultures happened at the time when European anthropology/anthropology of Europe was well established, but remained marginal to the mainstream, and was still denied the status of "real anthropology" because it did not deal with remote Third World peoples (Goddard et al. 1994). Upholding dogmas (Barrera-González 2005) such as doing research in remote terrains went hand-in-hand with the "insidious scientific imperialism" (Hann 2012) of conventional anthropology and the neglect of other strands of anthropology, especially those practised beyond the former Iron Curtain in the former communist CEE countries and known as ethnology, ethnography, folklore, etc. These national traditions of science, largely directed at researching one's own rural cultures, were doubly suspicious to the champions of Western anthropology: on the one hand, because they dealt with their own culture, it was questionable whether these scholars could produce scientific knowledge or merely "native" accounts/ethnographies and, on the other hand, they were suspected of putting ethnology into the service of local national projects, and they themselves of being outright nationalists. It is no wonder that colleagues in CEE responded to such assumptions with equally challenging allegations of a neo-colonial stance on the part of the Westerners.
Carnival, with ethnologist Tea Škokić interviewing a girl in costume, Pelješac peninsula, southern Croatia, 1997. Photograph from the collection of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb, photo no. 37605, photo taken by S. Puljar.
Whether (European) ethnology and (social/cultural) anthropology are distinct fields of study is still open for debate; no consensus has emerged and their relation (or distinction) is still played out differently in different countries and, as already mentioned, in two European professional associations which separate social anthropologists from ethnologists/cultural anthropologists. Is it possible to bridge this "tale of two disciplines" (comp. Frykman 2012), ethnology and anthropology, and go beyond the "canonical disciplinary purity" that anthropologists were more eager to maintain than their peers from (European) ethnology (Kockel et al 2012a, 7)? In this respect I want to mention an exemplary volume, the Companion to the Anthropology of Europe (Kockel et al 2012b) as an important step in the direction of the creation of an ethno-anthropology of Europe. The volume is a fully cross-European endeavour and it includes anthropologists and ethnologists from all around Europe and successfully brings together different traditions and contemporary approaches, in such a way that discerning the original disciplinary affiliation of the authors—in (European) ethnology or in the social/cultural anthropology of Europe—is a "futile task" (Frykman 2012, 587). The long-standing efforts of Andrés Barrera-González and some other colleagues at founding a unified European research and teaching area in anthropology (Barrera-González 2008; Barrera-González et al s.a.) are another step in this direction.
The trans-nationalisation of European ethnologies/anthropologies has started and needs to continue. I do not think that it is desirable that the ethnology/anthropology of Europe remains just "a network of perspectives" in the future "in which every national, regional group can make conscious use of its cultural specificity" (Hofer 1996, 95). I would hope that an even greater degree of trans-nationalisation of particular national traditions continues to develop, i.e. that by analysing cultural issues of European reach and relevance, ethno-anthropologies would rise above their "cultural" and/or "national" specificity and interest and formulate trans-nationally relevant topics and analyses. This is taking shape when European ethnologists/ anthropologists join to analyse the issues of contemporary heritage and the tourism industry (Bendix et al 2012), regional co-operation (GrenzRaumSee 2008), post-socialism (Roth 2005; Giordano et al 2014a) or whatever other topic of pan- or regional European relevance. A trans-national ethnology/anthropology of Europe is thus on its way to cease being just a rhetorical figure, an empty vessel or a misnomer. The success of this enterprise depends on acknowledging local ethno-anthropological knowledge production in CEE, being open to outside influences without abandoning one's own interests in research (this should function in all directions) and on fairness and equality in academic exchange among ethno-anthropologists across Europe.16
2On a personal note, I recall very well that expectation in Croatia in 1990 and 1991, soon to be followed by disappointment because it seemed to Croatians that "Europe" took a long time to recognise Croatia's quest for independence and a much longer time to agree to its membership in the Council of Europe (1996), and to allow it to join the EU (2013). [ Return to the article ]
3The authors quoted are critical of such views. In particular, Kürti and Skalník (2009a) argue that many current analyses of economic and political processes in CEE are based on Western notions of how transformations ought to occur instead of on what actually occurred at the local level. That volume (Kürti and Skalník 2009b) rejects the concepts of transition and transformation and points out "the blatant epistemological flaws" of the paradigms of linear development that were firmly upheld by Western social sciences (Giordano 2009, 299). See also insightful analyses of the neo-colonial characteristics of EU hegemony (the EU as an instrument of colonisation) over the post-communist countries, which reproduces the gap between Western and Eastern Europe (Skalník 2014; Giordano 2014). [ Return to the article ]
4A notable exception, that is curiously omitted from the accounts presented here, are Russian structuralists, who have been used by Western structural anthropologists. [ Return to the article ]
5This methodological difference was linked to different epistemologies but probably also to the costs of long-term fieldwork. [ Return to the article ]
6Rihtman-Auguštin was in close contact with Italian ethnologists among whom the term "ethno-anthropology" is common. [ Return to the article ]
7I can testify to this for Croatia; see Muršič, who writes of "denomination struggles" and heated discussions in Slovenia since the 1980s (Muršič 2002). [ Return to the article ]
8Unlike social or cultural anthropology, biological anthropology was professionally established in CEE countries during socialism and it became equated with anthropology (Skalník 2002; Muršič 2002; Martinović Klarić 2013). In Croatia, biological anthropologists promoted an American four-field approach, which might explain why a parallel institutionalization of ethnology/cultural anthropology occurred: currently there are two MA programmes at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, one pursuing formation under the aegis of the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, the other under the aegis of the Interdepartmental Chair of Anthropology, which offers a four-field approach and teaches cultural anthropology outside the department that carries its name. [ Return to the article ]
9In an interesting twist to a generally accepted idea, Bojan Baskar (2008) argues that the "Western" and "Eastern" ethnologies/anthropologies have been playing both the nation-building and the empire-building roles. [ Return to the article ]
10With it comes the myth of nationalistic societies: during the IUAES Congress in Zagreb in 1988, Chris Hann saw "large and noisy parades on the streets of central Zagreb, in which folk costumes mingled with the national colours in celebration of a uniquely Croatian identity" (Hann 2013, 8). An uninformed reader might think that people indeed dressed in folk costumes on the streets of Zagreb in 1988, but an informed one would know that the Congress that Hann attended coincided with the International Folk Festival. Moreover, the programme of the festival in that year, as in any other year during communism, was a showcase of Yugoslav "brotherhood and unity" ideology, staging folklore groups from all over the former state and not just Croatia. [ Return to the article ]
11The nationalistic spectre haunting ethnologists/anthropologists in CEE also found its way into my exchange with an Austrian historian, Karl Kaser, over the seemingly innocuous topic of the "Balkan family pattern" (Čapo Žmegač 2001; Kaser 1998). While I claimed Kaser was exoticising family patterns in the Balkans, Kaser asserted my nationalistic position. [ Return to the article ]
12In a somewhat different argument, Kacper Pobłocki (2009, 227) asserts that we cannot speak of "asymmetric ignorance" but rather of "reciprocal lack of interest." [ Return to the article ]
13He is sometimes so passionate as to overlook the fact that ethnologists from CEE do publish in "mainstream" ethnological/anthropological journals, collected volumes and with American and English publishers. It is precisely some of these colleagues who venture into criticism, like Kürti and Skalník, who end up publishing with Ashgate or Berghahn Books, neither of which is a little-known press. [ Return to the article ]
14These are significant efforts of the Ethnologie française journal's editors to present in French not only CEE but also other European national ethnologies. They have led to special issues on the ethnologies in Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Ireland, Turkey, Croatia, etc. This has been done not from an outsider but rather from an insider viewpoint by inviting editors from these countries to prepare representative collections of ethnological/anthropological production in their country. [ Return to the article ]
15Those CEE ethnologies that did not do research in the colonies but in their own peasant culture, were correspondingly exoticizing their peasants so that exoticism is not an exclusive trademark of Western anthropologies. I thank Bojan Baskar for this observation. [ Return to the article ]
16I thank Bojan Baskar, Valdimar Hafstein, Peter Jan Margry and the anonymous reviewer for their useful comments on the article. [ Return to the article ]
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