The Journal of Culture 2/2015

Autor: Hana Horáková

Political and economic restructuring launched in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 has had a substantial effect on the whole social reality of the countries, including their countryside. In Czechia, a particular impact was felt in small remote municipalities attractive for tourists, whose local authorities decided to replace a decline in traditional forms of living with a sector of services. A newly emerging rurality based predominantly on consumption involves different forms of land-use consumption, concerns over the environment, and a rise of new forms of international nature-based tourism whose aim is to meet the needs of urbanized and industrialized societies. One of the most significant transformational factors is the advent of so-called Dutch villages, located in a Czech „natural“ environment which include both Dutch second home ownership and recreational complexes. A case in point is Lipno nad Vltavou, a Dutch village par excellence, that has recently turned into a stage for vast recreational and tourist activities. The post-socialist ethnography of the Lipno community from an anthropological perspective will show how this large-scale tourist project is instrumental in commercialization, individualization and commoditization of the rural sources – landscape and community. It will reveal the nature of conflict over the rural sources perceived as a clash between a vision and practice of the neoliberal order, embodied by the key power agents (local political and entrepreneurial elites and the media) and the former, now peripheral perspective of using the countryside in a non-competitive way, stressing the compatibility of cultural and environmental practice, cherished by marginalized layers of the local population. The paper shows that preserving „valuable“ countryside could be achieved through community participation, which is, however, substantially aggravated by the adverse legacy of state socialism.

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Autor: Jan Prouza

West Africa belongs to the most problematic regions of the world concerning international security what is reflected not only by long-term concern for an emergence of “second Afghanistan” but recently also by fears of immense migration wave to Europe. It is obvious that situation in West Africa cannot be perceived only from traditional perspective of political-military security, but that it is necessary to deal with another sectors of security as well. The presented article is an attempt to do so and therefore is focused mostly on environmental sector which has far-reaching consequences on the security in general and which will probably become the crucial one in the near future.

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Autor: Thomas Hylland Eriksen

The present era, which can rightly be labelled the Anthropocene, is often characterised by references to global crises or challenges facing humanity as a whole today. In this paper, I argue that the metaphor of overheating can be a useful common denominator to the main crises of globalisation, as it calls attention to accelerated change and a heightened level of activity in the realms of economy, environmental change and communication; and one may similarly, metaphorically, speak of the quest for shared traffic rules on a global roadmap where traffic is growing by the minute. Anthropologists and other social scientists are in a unique position to make sense of the current global situation. It is crucial to understand local life-worlds and cultural diversity in order to come to terms with the overheated global situation in a constructive way.

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Autor: Zdenka Sokolíčková

Human society is going through several dynamic changes that are difficult for individuals to adapt to for their speed and complexity. Processes such as migration, globalization and homogenization often have negative impacts in the sphere of culture, economy and ecology, and the task for humanities including cultural anthropology is to comprehend the current situation of people and their world. The text inquires upon the question to which extent the inherent link between culture and nature might work as a foundation for communication among otherwise different societies. It also asks about the importance of global anthropological research in local communities and the philosophical, anthropological and partialy also ethical perspective that may enlighten the essence of contemporary issues.

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Autor: Martina Cichá, Jana Máčalová, Andrea Preissová Krejčí, Jasna Skotáková

Ukraine has been recently under the scope of all of the Europe as much as it used to be watched by the whole world after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986, which had disastrous impact on society, human health and life, their property and also on the environment. In our study, we focus on two faces of Ukraine, the dichotomy of tradition and modernity that is so strong in Ukraine. Firstly, we discuss very low level of care displayed towards environment in the modernized parts of Ukraine and the impact it has on nature and human health; secondly, we focus on the traditional lifestyle and connection between human and nature. We also thoroughly analyze practices of traditional medicine, folk magic and rituals that are connected to native beliefs in superstitions, witches, supernatural forces and unnatural creatures and their role in everyday rural life. All that is based on our terrain research that took place between the years 2013 and 2014 in two Ukrainian areas called Polesie and Transcarpathia. Their understanding of space or landscape (evilness or tabooization of specific areas) and of nature (revenants, imps, pixies, etc.) are different than we are accustomed to. Post-Enlightenment era was stripped of all the supernatural and belief systems, world is not since viewed as magical or as being influenced by magical forces, witches, demons and personified spiritual forces are not seen as real anymore. Here we use the dichotomous categories of “good” and “evil force” to uncover the remains of this so called “magical world” on our “old continent”.

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Autor: Jana Karlová

The text concerns the mutual relation between the nature and culture of the Western coast and islands of the Breton departement of Finistére. From a central European perspective, Breton seaside setting seems strange; especially in the eyes of a Czech “landlubber”. Bretons have experienced and struggled with the Atlantic throughout their history, yet they are attached to it as well. They are profoundly aware that the ocean is indomitable. They humbly strive to coexist and survive alongside the sea. Their condition suggests a parable to a lighthouse created as a human response to the natural environment. To withstand the forces of nature, a lighthouse must be constructed with both creativity and respect for the basic characteristics of a natural site. Then, with luck and human care, it can withstand blasts of wind and water. This metaphor is exemplified by the experiences of a lighthouse keeper named Jean-Pierre Abraham as described in his diary – written and published in the 60’s – which provides the basis of the study.

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Autor: Jana Jetmarová

The aim of this paper is to answer the question what is the role of the environmentalistic discourse adopted by Bolivian indigenous groups in a local political decision­making process. I am using the example of two case studies analyzing conflicts of developmentalist goverment policy and local communities to demonstrate that discourse emphasizing the necessity of the Mother Earth protection is primarily the means to legitimize autonomistic demands. The agenda that was legitimized by indigeneity at the beginning of the millenia, is now presented as an eco­indigenous agenda. The paper discusses this shift not only in Bolivian but also in further hemispheric context.

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Autor: Přemysl Mácha

The dichotomy nature/culture is the most basic constitutive element of our identity and our society and it deeply shapes and structures social relations. At the same time, as many authors point out, it produces a host of problems in the theory and methodology of science but also in society and the environment. Bruno Latour and Tim Ingold offered alternative ways of overcoming this dichotomy with the goal of returning to anthropology its relevance for the contemporary world and contributing thus to the solution of important problems. The seeming antagonism between these propositions can be overcome rather simply by taking into account the concept of scale which enables us to keep Latour’s political edge without loosing Ingold’s sensibility towards the everyday being and making in the world. A synthesis of both perspectives opens up new venues for the study of modern societies and human existence.

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