Volume 88, Issue 1 (2022), pp. 63–79
The article presents the discourse of folk medicine concepts in contexts of historicity, the social environment, and scientificity category interfaces. One of the essential features of folk medicine is its intra-disciplinary nature, necessitating basing the already-mentioned categories on a context analysis of theoretical and practical approaches to folk medicine. The article consists of four parts, which correspond to the approaches of discourse analysis on the concept of folk medicine. The first part presents the anthropological evaluation of folk medicine approaches to the social environment, historicity and scientificity. The second part highlights the context of the historicity of folk medicine, which raises the question whether folk medicine is an endangered legacy or a changing tradition? The third part analyses the expression of folk medicine in approaches to the coverage of the social environment: from village to city, from nation to humanity. The fourth part leads to an evaluation of the interfaces between folk medicine and scientificity as a problem of rationality/irrationality. In conclusion, it is emphasised that by presenting the discourse of folk medicine concepts in the already-mentioned segments (social environment, historicity, scientificity), folk medicine’s theoretical and practical expression is evaluated in contexts of today’s and past experiences.
Volume 18 (2012): People at the Crossroads of Space and Time (Footmarks of Societies in Ancient Europe) II, pp. 256–269
The Civitas Rutenica area, inhabited by Orthodox believers, emerged in Vilnius in the late 13th century and early 14th century. The development of this part of the city can be traced all through the 14th century. The cemetery that was discovered in the central part of Civitas Rutenica reflects cultural and social changes in the Orthodox community. Christian burial rites were practised in this cemetery. Several graves contained luxurious grave goods, including jewellery, some of which was common to the Slavs, and some of which had local origins. As an integrated approach to burial traditions indicates, people of the Orthodox faith were buried in this cemetery. According to written sources, the elite from Rus’ arrived in Vilnius at that time. An analysis of anthropological material reveals some features of the social structure of the Orthodox community.
During my anthropological fieldwork in Estonia in 1996–97 I approached various folkloristic traditions and practices at several occasions. My meeting with folklorists and their practices can be described as a ‘clash’ between academic disciplines. As an anthropology student I obviously reacted to how folklorists related to their research material. It is probably often so when people from different disciplines meet, that disagreements will arise about how research is done and fieldwork material is interpreted. Somehow we have to accept these differences, but sometimes it is also inspiring to get to know what people from other disciplines think about your own discipline. I want to give an account of folkloristic practices as seen through the eyes of an anthropologist. And it is related to a particular time and place: Estonia in the 1990ties at the time of my fieldwork. I guess, and I know, that changes have occurred since then, but I still hope that these reflections can be of interest.
The epithet Euro-American is ubiquitous in contemporary social science research. There is a tendency, however, for the concept to suffer from a ‘misplaced concreteness’: it is variously used to refer to a population, a place, or even a culture. The collaborative study on which I report here was entitled ‘Public Understanding of Genetics (PUG): a cross-cultural and ethnographic study of the ‘new genetics’ and social identity’. The aim was include, within the same framework, a range of publics, including lay and expert, as well as the media and legislation, and to investigate whether developments in genetic science and the use of genetic and reproductive technologies were impinging (or not) on people’s understandings of kin-ship. We were able to focus, to some extent, on the interface between normative and popular understandings of genetics. In juxtaposing policy and popular discourse our aim was to discern the points at which they converge and diverge. In PUG we were interested, then, in the similarities and differences in kinship thinking across the European sites in which we worked. We attempted to apprehend cultural understandings of kinship through the prism of genetics, and we were using new reproductive and genetic technologies as an ethnographic window through which to explore kinship across Europe.
The glance at the classical anthropological perspectives implies that the concept of ‘region’ was often tied to the environment and used mainly as a comparison unit and there were fewer intentions to try to discover the internal aspects of a ‘region’. The ideas of the contemporary scholars give a new room for the discussions about the connections between different territories, regions, concepts of local/global, homogeneity/heterogeneity, place, space/time etc. Generally, the article strives to prefigure possible ‘framework’ for the concept of ‘region’ and main elements as well as problems of its definition, and its application possibilities in the anthropological studies. The term ‘region’ is often occurring both in everyday and academic languages. But the question is, if it is possible to describe what kind of content is framed within the word ‘region’, because it does not have its own exact definition. Still it is usual to relate the term ‘region’ with geographical terms of various kinds of territories, for example, area, place, site, city etc. The scholarly discussions about globalization, its elements and processes influence perceptions of different territorial units and start questioning their stability and fixity.