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Abstract

This paper maps out the possibilities of using virtual and augmented reality in the context of virtual museums and galleries. In addition to the many advantages that virtual reality offers in new knowledge acquisition and presentation of cultural heritage objects, we also describe some possible disadvantages or problems directly related to this technology. Next, we try to find the answer to whether the presentation of selected objects of cultural heritage through virtual reality brings better results compared to the presentation in a traditional, museal form in the research part of the article. In conclusion, we summarise and present the results of the conducted research based on the statements of 138 students who participated in our testing.

Abstract

The narratives from the socialist period remarkably resemble the discussions after 1989 when it comes to the statement that the second half of the 20th century brought discontinuities that changed the countryside, even though their evaluations are different: the “desired” progress promoted by the normalisation language had not admitted the listing of the negative impacts on the countryside and the environment which logically became the centre of discussion after 1989. There is, however, a consensus in that the collectivisation of agriculture and the modernisation of the countryside had a significant impact on the functioning of rural communities, the way of life and municipal hierarchies. The author of the study suggests, though, that it is impossible to fully grasp the impacts of the transformation of the countryside on the present if we only observe the discontinuities. His assumptions are based on his own interest in the memories about the social life in the late socialism period, while focusing on the observation of the continuities that can be based on a reflection of normative ideas and values. Thanks to an analysis of orally historical interviews and the evaluation of contemporary ethnographic research, the members of rural communities were shown to have successfully developed initiatives to ensure continuity in social life despite its changing form and inter-generational discussions. This can be explained with the observation of symbols with which people identify themselves – thanks to their embeddedness in the values system and high adaptability to external interventions. It is impossible to fully understand the strategies of adaptabilities, so characteristic of this period, without observing the impact of the continuities (e.g. the need to use hypernormalised language to advocate one’s own interests).

Abstract

Saint Vincent is one of the saints the worshipping of which occupies an important place both in the official church cult and in folk religiousness. He is currently regarded as the patron of wine growers, wine producers and woodcutters. Folk respect was particularly manifested in Saint Vincent’s native Spain and France, and this cult gradually expanded to Germany and Austria in the 14th century. Thanks to migration, it spread from these regions to southern Austria and Slovakia with relatively successful establishment. The study analyses the materials from different periods of the 19th and 20th centuries, obtained by field and archive research on the religiousness of Alpine woodcutters, as well as older historical materials and contemporary records of this cult. By means of a comparative analysis of the obtained data, the study attempts to explore the movements by which the cult of Saint Vincent could have spread to Lower Austria and Western Slovakia. It also points out the importance of interdisciplinary research in indicating the origin of Alpine woodcutters, designated by the exoethnonym Huncokars in Slovakia. The previous research and publications about this group were based on relatively poor and limited sources of information, many of which were not always correctly interpreted. The study has the ambition to add and correct the information on the origin of Alpine woodcutters in the light of the newest research and findings. The research of the cult of Saint Vincent is one of the paths that indicate the origin of the group as well as the possible ways of the dissemination of the cult thanks to the migration of its supporters. Through the example of this cult, we also aim to highlight cultural transfers as a result of ethnic movements in Central Europe.

Abstract

The paper focuses on selected folklorist and ethnological activities during the inter-war period, financially supported by the Board for the Research of Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia, which was established on the initiative of T. G. Masaryk as part of the newly created Slavic Institute in Prague in 1928. This institution aimed to support links between Slovakia and the so-called Czech historical lands and the expressions of “mutuality” in the scientific, cultural or ethnic and language area, etc. The Board provided grants for conducting dialectological, folklorist, geographical and other projects, e.g. for the collection initiative of F. Wollman and his students in Bratislava and Brno in 1928–1947, covering Slovak and (yet unprocessed) Moravian folk fiction. Support was also granted to the research of music culture (D. Orel, K. Hudec, F. Zagriba, etc.), the collection of anthropological and ethnographical materials (K. Chotek, K. Domin, etc.), the study of Slovak folk embroidery (V. Pražák), folklore customs and practices (P. Bogatyrev), folk wood architecture (V. Sičynskyj, D. Stránská), Slovak dialects studied, for example, by V. Vážný, member of the Board, etc. The Slovak Encyclopaedia project, today already forgotten, was not completed. Its editors included historian V. Chaloupecký and, in particular, K. Chotek who prepared the concept of the work in 1930.

Abstract

Humans belong to the few species in which females and males live for a relatively long time after the end of their reproductive period. In this paper, I present theoretical concepts explaining the relatively long post-reproductive life span of humans and the menopause: the grandmother hypothesis and the diet, intelligence and longevity model (also known as the embodied capital model). The grandmother hypothesis, offering an evolutionary explanation of the menopause, shows that throughout most of the human history, childrearing has been a cooperative endeavour. In all societies across the world, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and other family members cooperate in networks consisting of kins and non-kins in order to assist with child rearing. The paper also argues how ethnographic research can contribute to the testing of evolutionary theories of grandparenthood in contemporary societies.

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Abstract

The oral history interview is a “multi-layered communicative event”. It is a unique, active event, reflective of a specific culture and of a particular time and space. Interviews, more precisely biographical interviews, are the tool I have been using for decades. The relationship between the interviewer and interviewee is, therefore, an essential question for me. I interview people to find out what happened to them, how they felt about it, how they recall it and what wider public memory they draw upon. Focused on the biographical narratives, as well as in-depth and repeated interviews, I have constantly faced ethical and moral questions in accordance with my role as a listener, and as a partner in the interview, but also as a scholar with the goal of using the interview in my scientific work. In my text, I would like to develop Hourig Attarian’s inspiring ideas on self-reflexivity, which brings to light the grey zones that we encounter in our work. This is often a difficult and fragile process. It is central to the connections that I create with the interviewees in my projects. These people always affect the course of my work, but also me personally. This balancing act is an exercise. I try to understand my own limits, I try to push my own boundaries, and assess how each of these circumstances impacts my research.

Abstract

This paper considers the relations between political power and scholarly activity during the period of the communist regime in Slovakia, then part of Czechoslovakia. Taking the example of a research project on the Ukrainian minority, undertaken by the Slovak Academy of Sciences during the years 1954–70, the paper traces the relationships between scholars and politicians and among academic institutions in the Czech lands and Slovakia, and the interventions by political power in academic work. The author focuses on the following questions: how did the project originate, and what were its aims and results? In what political, economic and social context did scholars undertake the project? How did the power relations between scholars and politicians develop and change in the course of the project? Why did political power intervene in research of the Ukrainian ethnic group? The paper draws upon M. Foucault’s views on the exercise of power, develops questions of the legitimacy of power (R. Barker), conceives scholarly work as an activity of a certain kind (P. Rabinow), and concentrates on the actors in power relationships, their strategies and motivations. Empirical data for the answer to research questions were acquired from archival documents about the project and from interviews with scholars who had participated in its work. The findings from analyses show what the specific possibilities and limits were for scholars functioning in the respective network of power relationships. They furthermore reveal a gamut of successful or unsuccessful strategies which scholars employed to bring about changes in the processes of the exercise of power.