The Anthropocene concept originates from earth system sciences and conceptualizes humanity as a planetary geophysical force. It links current action-oriented time horizons to Earth historical deep time and implies non-separability of natures-cultures. The Anthropocene concept has resonated in debates in natural and social sciences, the humanities and the broader public, serving as an inter- and transdisciplinary bridging concept. Based on an analysis of numerous texts from multiple scientific disciplines and media, this contribution distinguishes five narratives of the Anthropocene: the disaster narrative, the court narrative, the Great Transformation narrative, the (bio-)technological and the interdependence narrative. The five narratives articulate very different perspectives and experiences and transport divergent political, economic, ethical and anthropological values and interests; this is also shown in alternative conceptualizations such as Eurocene, Technocene, Capitalocene or Plantationocene. The analysis reveals that the narratives share significant structural characteristics concerning story, plot, protagonists, spatial and temporal structure and action-oriented emplotment which together can be referred to a meta-narrative of the Anthropocene. Since the partly overlapping, partly contradictory narratives compete for legitimation and dominance in science and the broader public, the findings raise the question whether this struggle will stabilize or undermine the Anthropocene meta-narrative in the long run.
Eva Toulouze and Nikolai Anisimov
The authors had the opportunity, during their fieldwork, to attend spring rituals in Varkled-Böd’ya village. The week before the Great Day (Bydjynnal, coinciding with Orthodox Easter) is a dense ritual week: there are young people to be initiated, boys first and girls at the concluding ritual, who thus become adults; there are evil spirits to be chased away from the space of the living; there are kin relations to be reinforced through reciprocal visits, prayers and ritual deeds. These four rituals are the focus of this article, which provides an ethnographic account as well as a general analysis of the critical dimensions observed.
Cultural Trauma and Diversity in Museums: A Report from São Paulo
Kirsti Jõesalu and Ene Kõresaar
Madis Rennu, Liisa Tomasberg-Koidu and Art Leete
On the basis of ethnographic fieldwork, conducted between 2007 and 2013, the authors analyse the communities of male artisans that have had the most significant impact on the development of contemporary Estonian handicraft. A wide range of artisans were surveyed in the course of this research, from professionals who earn a living from handicraft to amateurs, small enterprises and handicraft instructors. The authors concentrate on the motifs and background of different categories of handicraft agent. Details of handicraft practice such as mastering specific items, local peculiarities and materials used will be also explored. The analysis is predominantly based on the artisans’ views on proper ways of making handicraft items, their marketing strategies and the needs of developing their skills. The study* demonstrates that artisanal initiatives support the material reproduction of cultural locations through constant renewal of heritage ideology and practice.
Risto Järv and Mairi Kaasik
The article* focuses on two Estonian fairy tale types that have been recorded among the Orthodox Seto minority in the south-eastern corner of Estonia. In the index of Estonian folktales they have been described under tales of magic (fairy tales) as tale types Ee 328C* and Ee 327H*. One of the tale types observed is a masculine folk tale (one with male protagonists), the other can be considered a feminine folk tale with female protagonists despite it seemingly having two main characters of different genders. In both tales the protagonists reach a hostile place after moving through liminality, and both tales can be interpreted as tales of growing up.
This article explores changing work patterns in the Skolt Sámi reindeer herding community of Sevettijärvi, northern Finland. As a result of the Second World War, Finland lost the original home territory of the Skolt Sámi to the Soviet Union. The Skolt Sámi of the old Suenjel village moved to the Sevettijärvi area in Finland. In this article I present major changes in three areas of this group’s work patterns: 1) combinations of livelihood; 2) forms of cooperation and reciprocity; 3) social constructions of work situations. The main causes of cultural change in the rein-deer herding community have been the mechanisation of reindeer herding and the centralisation of reindeer ownership. In anthropological studies, traditional forms of behaviour have at times been seen as obstacles to economic development. My argument is different: traditional forms of culture – in this case forms of reciprocity – can increase possibilities for economic development. The research data shows that the centralisation of reindeer ownership has decreased the possibilities for economic development in additional forms of livelihood among Skolt Sámi reindeer herders. The number of herders has decreased and the entrepreneurial collaboration is arranged so that there is less and less traditional reciprocity between separate households.
Historically, Australianness has been defined in contradistinction to its location – a British bastion in the Asia-Pacific region.A fear of being swamped by the Chinese – the ‘yellow peril’ – prompted federation, and a restrictive migration policy aimed at making Australia white. Thus, sinophobia has been significant in the national imaginary. This paper discusses how contemporary representations of Chineseness may be echoing this historic narrative of fear about being overrun. This is explored in the context of China’s shifting global significance and Australia’s growing economic relationship with China.
Is religion simply a part of culture? Can religious diversity be managed as a subset of intercultural diversity? This article explores intercultural dialogue and its relationship to “religion’ in the policies, documents and debates of the European Community. The argument is advanced that religious realities and concerns are misconstrued when religion is subsumed into culture. Religion needs to be historically and conceptually rethought and that for cultural and religious diversities to be skillfully managed in the interests of social solidarity and positive intercommunal relations both need to be addressed discretely and in tandem.