The lives of Indonesian waria (transgender women) are substantially shaped by spatial dynamics. As a result of social and spatial exclusion, subsequent migration and economic needs, a lifestyle pattern around daily work in beauty salons and street nightlife tied to transactional sex has evolved in many parts of urban Indonesia. Drawing on ethnographic research in the Indonesian regions of Java and West Papua, I demonstrate that despite tremendous spatial abjection, salons and street nightlife are also productive, transformative and conjoining spatialities that foster waria subjectivity in affective relations with their intimate partners, the community, the phantasmic promise of the transnational mediascape and Indonesia as a nation. The places that waria occupy may spark moral prejudice and targeted violence, but simultaneously they are sites of agency at which waria experience self-affirmation and a sense of belonging while embodying through gendered performance the envisioned mobility at both national and transnational scales. The paper thus foregrounds how spaces and subjectivities are mutually constitutive, forging one another, as well as how certain spatialities hold potential to disrupt the sense of marginality.
This article* provides an insight into ethnographic research during the Soviet occupation of Latvia, viewed in the context of national self-consciousness. Ethnographic research in Soviet Latvia was conducted by the ethnographic sector at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic (LSSR). By successfully using phrases appropriate to the political situation as well as the right quotations from Soviet ideological works, it was possible to maintain ideas and attitudes developed in interwar independent Latvia, for example, regarding Latvian national costume – in the works of Mirdza Slava. In turn, Aina Alsupe managed to carry out substantial new studies of the history and development of weaving in Latvia, and collect materials on the development of applied art in Soviet Latvia. The studies conducted by both Alsupe and Slava allowed researchers to keep applied folk arts and the folk costume topical, and in doing so to help maintain Latvian cultural identity.
Estonian ethnography as one of the Estonia-related disciplines was tied with Estonian nationalism from the very beginning. Defined as a science investigating mainly the material side of vanishing traditional peasant culture in the 1920s, it fitted rather well with the Soviet understanding of ethnography as a sub discipline of history. Thanks to the major cooperation projects initiated and coordinated by ethnographers from Moscow, Soviet Estonian ethnographers could continue studying Estonian traditional peasant culture. Their favourite research topics (folk costume, peasant architecture and traditional agriculture) supported Estonian national identity, but also suited the framework of Soviet ethnography. Studying contemporary (socialist) everyday life was unpopular among Estonian ethnographers because the results had to justify and support Soviet policy. They did so unwillingly, and avoided it completely if possible. Despite of some interruption during the Stalin era, ethnography managed to survive as a science of the nation in Soviet Estonia.
The article seeks to illuminate the ideologically motivated circumstances of Latvian folklore studies during the period of unconditional Soviet totalitarianism. With the strengthening of the Soviet occupation regime in Latvia in the late 1940s, many interwar folklorists became victims of ideologically motivated disdain and subsequent career limitation. ‘Bourgeois’ scholarship and the methods applied in folklore studies during the interwar period were denounced and recognised as harmful to the new Soviet order. The central part of the article presents a case study of one individual folklorist of the time, Anna Bērzkalne (1891–1956). Both increasing criticism of Bērzkalne’s folklore research approach (the historical–geographical method) and her efforts to accommodate the requirements of the Soviet regime have been analysed.
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.
This paper discusses the role of Oromo proverbs in conflict resolution and/or management as a peace-making verbal communication principle in the cultural context. The lesson from proverbs, which contain traditional morsels of wisdom, consists of cultural value and rhetorical effectiveness helping to enforce reality in the context in which they are used. Data for this paper is generated from primary sources. In data gathering, we used interview and focus group discussion. The analysis shows that proverbs have persuasive power to advise, guide and influence conflicting parties to settle their case peacefully. The proverbs tell their truths about conflict situations and devise a resolution and management approach through metaphorical and symbolic representations. Proverbs are also an integral part of Oromo culture, handing down and imparting norms, values, rules and the worldview of the community to guide people to live in customary ways.