Tradition and its re-producers

fundamental research project
Basic Info


Tradition is a central concept in ethnology and folklore studies. Until the mid-20th century, it was a key dimension in understanding the culture of lower social strata, especially the peasant class (i.e., “folk culture”), whereas now it is connected with the cultural heritage of all social strata. This anthropologically universal phenomenon enables appropriate identification and affiliation for an individual or a group/community. Like other phenomena, tradition is in constant dialogue with culturally innovative, and therefore it is not possible to equate it with the past or with history; it is a historical vestige but also simultaneously a contemporary phenomenon. In Europe and throughout the world “small” traditions have been increasingly becoming an alternative to globalization. In Slovenia, the search for and reliance on tradition became more pronounced after the mid-1980s, when, because of specific circumstances, this first appeared in considerations of the special features of national identity and viability, which contributed to a reevaluation of folk culture or previously marginalized traditional features and practices. Following independence, reference to tradition strengthened in connection with outward recognition of Slovenia, and also increasingly in the multifunctional expression of local, regional, and other collective identifications.

In reflecting on tradition, at least three discourses are important: 1. professional (scholarly, technical), 2. non-professional (amateur and performance practices), and 3. media discourse. This project primarily focuses on the second one; specifically, that of the past thirty years. However, the goal is to investigate the shaping of reflections on tradition, its current vitality, and especially the dynamics of the performing and creative process. The main issues regarding the actual actors with a decisive influence on performance and the image of tradition, are the following: who the individuals and groups are that participate in the performance and creative process; their motives for the planned collection, preservation, performance, and transmission of tradition; the media of transmission; the influence of performance on the transformation of the “traditional;” reflection on the concepts of “authentic” and “immagined” tradition; and the functional and symbolic dimensions of performance.

narrative and expert interview; Slovenia
folk culture; qualitative methodology
production of tradition
folklore studies

Research areas
Kulturna antropologija, etnologija S220
Narodopisje H400